More about Excellence Punta Cana
Experienced Excellence at Secrets Excellence
My husband and I just returned recently from Secrets Excellence, and we had a fabulous, problem-free time during our 7-night stay at this hotel/resort. In fact, we had one of the BEST vacations ever, and we would encourage others to travel to Punta Cana and to this Secrets resort.As always, we did our research prior to booking our vacation by checking websites for reviews, travel guides for information, friends who had been to this area. Everyone informed us that we would have a great time with the beautiful sandy beaches and the blue water and the all-inclusive perks of the hotels. They were right! Secrets has a fine property which is well-groomed and well-maintained. The pool is spectacular extending almost the length of the property with waterfalls and a bridge. Our suite was very clean and cleaned EVERYDAY without any problems. The friendly service throughout the hotel was very prompt (one or two times at the restaurants they were a little slower than other times but we were on vacation and took the time to relax and enjoy the amazing views). We tipped only our maid at the end because she was very nice, and we tipped one of the restaurant managers at the end because of his impeccable service. No other tipping was needed. The staff are friendly and happy, and they like to dance judging by their numbers in the disco at night. VERY FUN!! Check it out - even toga night.We took advantage of the all-inclusive aspects by trying every restaurant (some were better than others, but when isn't that true of any location?) and trying different drinks (the El Presidente beer is quite good and the fresh coconut drinks are amazing). If we didn't like something, we sent it back and got another menu item. No big deal! The same for certain food items although it did not happen often. We even mixed-it up by having our entree at one restaurant and then dessert at another (the Italian restaurant has YUMMY homemade gelato changing flavors daily). We also did lots of activities. Why not, they are free and offered throughout the day (off-hotel excursion cost extra). I did the water aerobics in the pool and beach volleyball kept my husband busy, and he was always in arms-reach for another rum-drink. We went horse-back riding several times with no problems signing-up and no crowds (go in the morning or for the moonlight ride - the afternoon is too hot).Yes, the majority of hotel staff spoke Spanish only so there were language barriers. But we knew this prior to our trip. We asked a Spanish friend for some helpful phrases which we took with us. And we even took a Spanish lesson which was offered in the mornings. Knowing this how can anyone complain? English is not the only language in the world! Do you think visitors to the US expect all of our hotel staff to know their languages? I think not.Yes, there were mosquitoes but this is a tropical location and to be expected. Don't go and complain about it! Go somewhere else preferably a colder location up North somewhere. We were prepared with bug repellent. It;s very expensive if you have to buy it there. So bring your own. Same for sunscreen so bring your own.One regret - we did not take advantage of the talented resort photographer who will take photos of you around the resort for a VERY REASONABLE fee. We had a few pictures taken by him that turned out fantastic but not the personalized service. It was too late by the time we realized what we had missed. We had to catch a flight.Bottom line: Every travel location is not perfectly matched to everybody. That's why people go to different places based on their preferences. I would encourage travellers to read the reviews which contain helpful information before embarking on their trips and do their homework. We enjoyed ourselves! We THOUGHT IT WAS JUST US! But we made several friends with other guests staying at the resort who had similar POSITIVE experiences.
Loved Secrets in Punta Cana
My husband and 6 friends just returned from a totally fabulous trip to Secret Excellence, Punta Cana. We have traveled to Cancun, Bermuda and Hawaii and this resort lives up to its 6 Golden Apple Rating. The rooms are fantastic, exactly as advertised, spacious and very romantic with a 4 poster bed and jacuzzi. Breakfast Buffet and Lunch were wonderful with a wide variety of choices. Dinners were very good as well and were always presented well. We ate at the Gourmet Restaurant, without a reservation and did have to wait for about 2 hours. We sat at the bar and enjoyed our conversation. There was also one evening where dinner was served on the beach. Also very good food here with large selection of choices. Desserts were always in abundance. The Service at times was slow but we were never ignored and often times we considered the service excellent at dinner. The activities staff was extremely friendly, we did Yoga, water aerobics, took the dance lessons, tennis, bike tour all were a lot of fun. Water sports were good too although the snorkeling was disappointing, we saw very few fish and the water was fairly rough. We loved the pool, especially the sun huts some of which could accomodate 6 or 8 oif us at one time. Bartenders were extremely friendly and shows were suprisingly good. Top shelf liqour was always available and the local beer was good. We went to the disco 2 nights. There was good music for the frist hour or so until the non-stop disco music began but it was fun. The Spa was wonderful. We had mudd wraps, facials, amnicures and pedicures. Again the staff was extremely competent and friendly although little english was spoken by the staff at the spa. Definitely bring your bug spray although not all of us wsere bothered by the bugs. All in all, very romantic setting and we loved that it was adults only. I would definitely recommend this wonderful resort and we will be back.
Secrets Excellence - Punta Cana Carol USA February 2003Just returned from an AMAZING week at Secrets Feb 9th-16th. I was almost digging my heels in the sand so I could stay longer. This resort is amazing! I have read many negative reviews and can only say I am so glad I did not let them interfere with my decision to go here. Flew out of Boston on Icelandair. The plane left right on time. We landed in Punta Cana at 11:45 and the fun began. When you arrive you walk through an archway and they take your picture. You can purchase this for $5.00 on the way home. We did and it was a fun thing to do. There were 4 of us that traveled together as we always do. The ride to the resort is about an hour and it was a nice way to get to see the Island. We asked if we could stop on the way and get a cold drink (beer) and the rep made sure to ask each one of us if we agreed and we did. I suppose if there was someone on the bus that did not want to stop we would not have. But why not after all you are on vacation. When we arrived at the resort our rooms were not ready yet. We did not expect them to be because it was not yet 3. We had packed our bathing suits on our carry on so off to the restroom we went and we ready for a drink, a bite to eat and a swim. When our rooms were ready we waited for our luggage which was not delivered. We decided to find where it was and brought it up ourselves. No big deal the exercise would do us good. They did tell us they would have a bell boy bring it up but it did not matter. Once settled in we went to explore. We were pleasantly surprised to find we had an ocean view room. It really did not matter much though because we were only in the room to sleep. There was to much going on to stay in the room. The resort is absolutely beautiful. Marble lobby with plenty of comfortable seats and tables. The grounds are so well kept nothing was out of place. There are live turtles, fish, pink flamingos and peacocks that are on the resort. FOODThe food was actually very good. There are many restaurants to choose from. The buffet breakfast was great. They have the best bread and rolls I have ever had. I actually had a dinner roll each morning with breakfast. Lunch was very good at the Italian and Tex Mex restaurants. I have read that the line for the omelet was long go to the area that Feliz is making the eggs and omelets. I assure you it is worth the wait and he is an awesome person. Always has a smile and a nice hand shake. We ate at the gourmet restaurant which was very nice. The Italian restaurant the night we went was very slow. I think they might have had new employees on and they were unsure of just what to do. The food was great though! The Mexican restaurant was a long wait. It was very good though the fajitas were over salted. I would advise if you were going to do any of the Mexican it would be a good idea to do it when they have the beach party on Thursday night. People stated there was no one in there then and the service was great. I would have to say the Tex Mex was one of our favorites. The potatoes and rib eye were great. DRINKSWhat can I say, all top shelf and great. The bars opened at 10 am. I am not sure what time they close because the latest we ever stayed up was midnight. BEACH AND POOLI have heard a lot of comments regarding the undertow and the waves. My husband is not a swimmer at all and this really concerned us. I must say we had a blast in the ocean. You do not have to go out to far in order to have fun. Once we were done playing in the ocean we went to the pool. They have these great covered beds that you could lie in. We swam in the pool and then napped in the covered beds that surround the pool. It was so relaxing. There is one issue I would like to comment on. There are people who are on the beach all day long who will move your chairs and put cushions on them for you. There were 2 groups of people when we were there that do not know the meaning of being kind or considerate. At one point they actually whistled to one of the men to get his attention so he could bring them their chairs. All I can stress to you is that the people at the resort work very hard and are very friendly people. We tipped about $200 for the week. This is not necessary but please treat them with the respect they deserve. Do not drink the tap water. They have all types of bottled water. The fruit and salads and the water at the restaurants is fine because it is purified. BUGSWe brought Deep Woods Off and did not get bit once. They do spray in the evening but it was not overpowering at all. ENTERTAINMENTTThe entertainment was really good. They put on quite a show and I must say the women and men really knew how to dance. We LOVED this resort and plan on returning next year.
Don't Believe the Critics!
After spending 10 days and 9 nights at Secrets Excellence it is obvious what people are complaining about. Secrets is not home. Secrets is a secluded, peaceful, beautiful resort that is a wonderful escape from everyday life. If you arent ready for a 60 minute bus ride on barely paved roads, then stay closer to the airport. If you want to be hurried in and out of restaurants in barely enough time to eat, then go to Olive Garden or Outback in your home town. If you want a mosquito free vacation, then spend it at the indoor pool and the local Holiday Inn. If you want the staff of a resort to have a command of the English language equal to your own, then dont go to a country where Spanish is the national language. However, if you want to be at least a 10 minute bus ride from the nearest resort, if you want to dine at a pace that allows you to relax and enjoy your time with loved ones and friends, if you don't mind spraying a little bug spray on your skin, and if you dont mind taking the time to learn a few Spanish words and phrases, then you will love Secrets Excellence. The resort is beautiful, as has already mentioned in the many reviews on this site. I just wanted to add a review that hopefully sheds a little light on the overall theme of most of the complaints. Secrets Excellence is not home. However it is a wonderful escape from home. Relax and enjoy. I also highly recommend utilizing the service of Apple Vacations. We were at Secrets during the Presidents Day Storm. Because of the fact BWI Airport was closed for nearly two days, we ended up getting to stay at Secrets for two additional nights. We never had to leave the resort to spend time waiting at the airport. Apple kept us abreast of our flight status on an hourly basis. All we had to do was set back and enjoy the extra days!
6 Golden Apple Rating?
I wrote the below review ("Avoid this Sweat Shop...") and have researched some things.. We found out Apple Vacations actually owns a % of this resort, and runs the food services, among other things. That explains the 6 Apple Golden rating (which is not real). The common areas and grounds are immaculate, but for anyone who has traveled to Puerto Vallarta, PDC, Anguilla, etc.. this place is basically a terrible resort. There is no comparison between Secrets Excellence and a place like royal Hideaway in PDC, or Cap Jaluca, Marriot PV, etc, etc.. Just thought people should know about Apple's vested inerest. Others with whom we travelled had many complaints. We are very easy to please, put up with it all.. just won't ever return to this resort "with potential.." Should be rated 4 stars at best.. (and charge accordingly).
My husband and I spent 8 days at Secrets, Feb 19-26. 2003. Our experience actually started out poorly but we didn't let things bother us. We were to have a king non-smoking room. We were given the keys, but when we got there it was not ready. So we went walking for about an hour came back and it still wasn't ready. We finally went to the desk and they immediately changed our room, gave us new keys and sent our bags to the room. Upon entering we discovered we were now in a smoking two double bed room. After being married for almost 32 years two double beds just don't work for us!. We called the desk and were told that was all they had but they would change our room the next day. We agreed to keep the room for the night. Went back in the morning to hear the same thing that there were no king bed non smoking rooms available. We went to the Apple Vacations rep and she couldn't do anything. They did put the two double beds together and made them up with king sheets so that worked and we went on. But the next day our room was never cleaned. I called the front desk and they transferred me to housekeepping who spoke no English!!! I gave our room number and just said no clean. She understood and said 5 momentoes. We left for the evening to come back to a room that hadn't even been touched. So in the morning when we were leaving our room, the maid was just outside the door. I said Please clean. She said OK. We went back in and left $1 on the pillow for her. Wow, this did miracles.....we not only got our room cleaned but she came back at night, turned down the bed and left chocolates. We left $1 each day after that. We did not have any robes that were suppose to be in the room, our hammock was missing, and we never saw and "love baskets" that they talked about. We soon found out $1 tips were a real key to success. Us Americans are used to tipping anyways and after all what is a buck to us. We tipped the cocktail waitress $1 and she would bring us another drink before we even finished the one we had. My husband enjoyed the top shelf drinks and we both had fun trying out their specialty drinks. The food was absolutely wonderful. We tend to eat dinner early or fairly late and had no problem getting into any of the restaurants. Yes, the Chateaubriand was the absolute best, although we enjoyed trying other dishes. I think the service was great and especially at the Mexican place. The buffet on the beach was rained out on Thursday and we were quite disappointed. We were pleasantly surprised to see them set up for the beach buffet again on Friday. (I mean they have to haul the table and chairs out there. They use cloth tablecloths, china, and linen napkins.) Then about an hour before the buffet was to begin, it rained again. Believe it or not they set it up again on Monday night and yes we were able to enjoy it. Oh, I can't forget to mention all the desserts. They are fabulous and lots to chose from. Be sure you have a made-to-order omelet made by Richard. He is the really tall chef. Originally from Chicago and very pleasant to talk to. I mentioned to him we were leaving that day and he said be sure to come back and see us, I will miss you and shook our hand. If you are up for some dancing be sure to find the Disco. For some reason it is not on the map. It is at the end of the shops. Very worth going to. We really had fun on Toga night.There are shows every night in the theatre and lots of fun. Don't miss out on seeing the two Mimes. One of them made me a rose out of a cocktail napkin which I wore in my hair and received my compliments on it. We did do a lot of relaxing time but there is plenty to do if you are so inclined, anything from checkers, chess, ping-pong, bikes, water sports, bow and arrow, pool tables to horse back riding (be sure you bring some jeans) The beach is absolutely beautiful. We spent a lot of time in the ocean even though it had the red flag out most of the time. The water is very clean and very warm. Wonderful waves to play in. But watch out the sun tan lotion gets washed off and we both got burned the very first day. I think the guys especially like the scenery on the beach as there was some topless. The pool was warm but very hard to find a place to sit. People claim their places early and then you are out of luck. We saw couples that would have two chairs claimed in the sun and then two chairs claimed in the shade. They really need to do something about that. We did find an outside hot tub one day that had no one in it and we really enjoyed that. We read a lot of reviews and did our homework before we went there and we were very prepared for the bugs. But we never used our bug spray once. I was only bothered by the bugs the morning we left as we were waiting for the bus we sat on the bench closest to the Apple desk and I got biten a few times. Itches like crazy. Be sure to visit the vendors that come in and set up out on the driveway. We were told they will bargain with you and come down 20 - 30%. My husband bought me a Larimar ring, ear rings, necklace and bracelet. He started out at $287 and we ended up paying $95. They wanted us to pay in US $ as he said he forgot his credit card machine.It did rain a few times while we were there but not for long. If it does rain, watch out for the tile and marble floors as they become extremely slippery. They were out there cleaning them up as soon as it stopped raining.Would we go back? Yes, we would, however there are lots of other places we want to discover also.Hope this has helped you. The Wards.
Pesty little bugs! The truth!
We had a terrible time checking in. My advice, don't book an upgraded room with your travel agent, because there will be a chance you won't get it! We arrived on Feb 22 at the hotel at 2:30p.m. We were directed by several different people at the front desk, that it would be five minutes for our room. After haggling with the staff for our "Oceanview Junior Suite" which we paid for in advance, we were settled in our room at 4:30. Don't expect to get your room immediately. We were lucky because I saw some people who had to settle for a standard room, when they had paid for the upgrade! It's not necessarey to upgrade. All the rooms were nice.POOL: The pool was FABULOUS! IT'S SO HUGE! Even though the resort was fully booked, there was plenty of room to swim, lots of lounge chairs too! But here is the key.......if you want the best, like a lounger in the pool....get out there at 7:00a.m. and get dibs on it! The primo shaded beds and good loungers would be "taken" by someone staking it out with a towel, book, or some personal belonging! If you manage to get a "floater" for the pool, I had to scam mine, take it to your room with you so you will have it the next day.BEACH: Unfortunatley at this resort, the water is very rough. The red flag was up the entire time due to a very strong current. Good news is the breeze is very refreshing, and makes the heat tollerable.FOOD: Excellent. Whatever you like, they have! We really enjoyed the Mexican and the Italia. There is a cusine restaurant, but the drill to get a table is pretty wacky. Do yourself a favour and don't waste your time waiting in line. I wouldn't recommend the tex mex restaurant for lunch. DRINKS were great. Again, whatever you want! If you don't like the Presidente, which is better than any beer I've ever had, you can have Corona, Heinekin or other brands.SERVICE: The service was the best, except for the check-in. There was something wrong with our safe once we got our room, and someone came within 10 minutes and fixed it. The wait staff are highly trained, and treat you very well. Just be patient with them when they are trying to understand you, as their english is average to poor. BUGS! It's an ugly word, and sometimes an "overlooked" subject, but for some reason, there were a tone of mosquitos after 6:00p.m. And then there are these little sandflie type, that are smaller than a black flies. We found them everywhere. Even as you are standing brushing your teeth in your room, they are nipping at your legs! BE PREPARED AND TAKE BUG SPRAY LIKE WE DID!
Excellence is Properly Named
We spent the best week ever here! Our third trip to the Caribbean and our second Apple trip. It exceeded our expectations and made Belize and Aruba pale if you are looking for a grat location to unwind and enjoy summer in winter. Great people that try their best to please. Very, very clean, great food and entertainment. Food beyond compare. We will return!!!
Punta Cana - Secrets Excellence
Can't say enough about this place.
Lots of sun, food,booze, & no kids allowed.
I love kids, just not when I'm on holidays.
Friendly staff, and the place is spotless.
Thinking about going back again, only because I can't seem to find a place this beautiful and adults only.
Punta Cana / Secrets Excellence
Excellence Punta Cana....for honeymoon
My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon for the middle of October, we like what we've read about Excellence Punta Cana, however, the pictures on the internet are making us nervous. Any info on this resort? Other all-inclusive resorts you'd suggest?
Re: Excellence Punta Cana....for honeymoon
I work in the customer service department for a large wholesale travel company that sells the Excellence Punta Cana. My department handles complaints and the Excellence is one of our biggest sellers and I've never had a complaint or had someone ask to be moved. What is bothering you in the pictures? I know that their room decor is a little more "dominican" than most 5+ star resorts, and that can seem a little kitchy for some. A more American/European decor can be found at either of the Paradisus resorts, both of which offer all-inclusive plans.
Hope that helps.
Re: Excellence Punta Cana....for honeymoon
Check out Club Med Punta Cana instead, you will not be disappointed! It may be more pricey though.
Re: Excellence Punta Cana....for honeymoon
Relax my friend..... you've picked the best resort in the Dominican.
I've been there 5 times and just booked my 6th trip there for Dec/07.
The resort is spotless and the staff is very friendly.
Trust me....you have no worries.
Re: Excellence Punta Cana....for honeymoon
The Excellence its a beautiful property, I stayed there a few years ago, I love the romantic, laid back ambiance, I fell asleep under the night sky in one of the hammocks. I love the fact the its an Adults Only resort, I love kids but wouldnt want to be bothered with them during my honeymoon. The hotel itself is isolated, which some people prefer.
The ride to the hotel itself is not the greatest, you will experience curving roads, speed bumps, pot holes, etc. (I wonder if the road that leads from the main road to the hotel is paved yet? =0) Dont let it fool you. Once you are in the hotel, You will feel like its your own little paradise in the middle of the Caribbean. The rooms are great, the food even better, very friendly staff, & even the entertainment is great (a hit or miss in the caribbean) Not very much nightlife, If you want some great nightlife try heading to Mangu is the hottest nightclub in Punta Cana, its about 30 minutes away. See if you can get 1 or 2 couples to join you that way you can split the cost of the cab ride. You can hire one that will take you there, wait for you, and bring you back. Have a Great trip!!!
If you are looking for the romantic secluded honeymoon Excellence will do. I have been to the Melia Caribe Tropical, huge family resort, & the Occidental Grand, fun family resort, its right next to mangu nightclub. I normally suggest them but it all depends, this is your honeymoon, so it needs to be special.