Excellence Punta Cana Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Multiple pools, including one that winds around the hotel
  • 8 restaurants with better food than most Dominican resorts
  • Excellent four-poster beds in some rooms -- better than most all-inclusive beds
  • In-room Jacuzzi tubs
  • Name-brand liquor included in the all-inclusive package
  • Great spa, better than most in the D.R.
  • In-room Wi-Fi available, but reception is spotty.
  • Adults-only property (a con for some)

Cons

Bottom Line

Excellence is a relaxing, adults-only, 446-room resort with a winding pool, in-room Jacuzzis, four-poster beds in some rooms, top-shelf martinis, and a great spa, plus more privacy and better (not great) food than at most Dominican resorts. Although the beach is rougher than in most of Punta Cana, this resort's a great pick for the price.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Couples of all ages come here for their honeymoons, anniversaries, and any other excuse. Without a doubt, this place is designed for romance and quiet relaxation.

The hotel grounds
The hotel grounds

Catering mostly to couples, the 446-room, adults-only resort is a pretty solid choice for honeymoons and anniversaries. On arrival guests are greeted with a glass of bubbly and a chilled towel, setting the tone for the rest of the trip. This is a place for adults who value luxe amenities but without the extensive or doting service one would find at more exclusive establishments. Though the staff will stretch a ribbon over your door to announce your visit's occasion, so that's something.

During the day, the giant pool is quiet and filled with more guests reading than pounding beers (the latter is the case at most all-inclusives). At night, most guests gather around the martini bar, or hang out on the overstuffed chairs watching the evening entertainment, which ranges from dance lessons to bingo. After the bar closes, most guests head to the resort's nightclub.

 Location

A 60- to 90-minute bumpy taxi ride from Punta Cana International Airport (depending on your driver). Not much to do off-site.

Excellence Punta Cana is about an hour from the airport, but depending on your driver it could take upwards of 90 minutes to get to the hotel. Once there, there's not a whole lot to do off-property, so get comfortable.

 Beach

Beautiful, but the water can get pretty rough. Most guests prefer the pool.

Rough seas before a storm
Rough seas before a storm

This beach has great potential. It's wide and the sand is soft, but occassional high winds (especially during the winter months) are not great for lounging or swimming because the swell kicks up. Excellence Punta Cana is on the eastern-most edge of the D.R.,where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean, so resorts farther south tend to have warmer and clearer water, while the resorts to the north tend to have more waves and less clear water, depending on conditions.

 Rooms

Designed for romance, the lighting is soft, the bed is comfortable, and the in-room Jacuzzi is within arm's reach of the big four-poster bed.

The Excellence Suite
The Excellence Suite

All rooms are clean and fairly large. Most rooms are meant for two people, though the hotel does have 228 suites that can accommodate three people. Large, red clay pots separate the Jacuzzi and the bedroom. But the lamps don't provide anything but mood-lighting by night, so reading in the room after dark may be difficult. The four-poster bed is comfortable, especially by all-inclusive standards. There are four pillows and a heavy blanket, plus a pillow-top mattress. It is just shy of the famous Westin beds (found elsewhere in the U.S. and the Caribbean, but not the D.R.). The balcony-patio includes a small lawn with a hammock. There's not much of a view, but the hammock and small grassy area makes up for it.

Refurbishments in 2011 brought upgraded decor to the Excellence Club rooms, which is an exclusive area in which guests enjoy premium minibars and in-room amenities, as well as a private lounge and preferred locations throughout the resort. While not entirely worth the splurge, the upgraded rooms do have pleasant, more modern decor for those interested. The four-posters and more traditional design of regular suites are just as appealing. Also in 2011, the hotel added four new honeymoon suites, which feature large terraces, outdoor whirlpools, kind beds and ocean views.

  • More toiletries than found at most all-inclusives (such as Q-tips and shaving cream)
  • Jacuzzi tub and standing shower
  • Well-stocked minibar, better than at a lot of all-inclusives in the D.R., but no hard booze

 Features

Excellent pool with plenty of lounge chairs, and the spa is a cut above those at most resorts.

The casino
The casino

As the beach here is less thrilling than most beaches in Punta Cana, it's no surprise that most guests prefer the long, meandering pool that snakes around the restaurants, the first-floor rooms, and the swim-up bar. There are also plenty of daybeds and lounge chairs. And even though it was windy on the beach, around the pool it was calm, sunny and warm.

Excellence is also home to the Miile spa. Featuring a beauty center as well as wellness treatment, hydrotherapy facilities, saunas and plunge pools to name a few, the spa is one of the best in the D.R. There's also yoga classes and a fitness center with cardio machines. Check out the hotel's spa website for more information.

There is also a small casino on site.

 Family

Only guests ages 18+ are allowed at the resort.

This is an adults-only resort, and guests must be 18 or older. For a more kid-friendly hotel in Punta Cana, check out the Majestic Elegance or the Riu Palace Macao.

 Cleanliness

Very clean, well-maintained resort.

The rooms at Excellence are immaculate. There are no signs of wear and tear and the rooms are perfectly clean. Outside, workers can constantly be seen at work and the ground looks well-kept. Staff inside is also always fluffing pillows on the couches in the lobby or arranging furniture.

 Food

A step above most all-inclusives, meaning that the food is good, but not great. Plenty of on-site dining options.

The buffet
The buffet

The dinner buffet is better than at most resorts in the Dominican Republic, but that doesn't mean the food is actually good. Expect decent fare but nothing special or exciting.

There are a lot of a la carte dining options as well, including Asian fusion (Spice), Mediterranean (Barcelona), Mexican (Agave), French Chez Isabelle, steakhouse The Grill, seafood The Lobster House, Italian Toscana, and pizza and such at Oregano, as well as the beachside Las Olas. None of the restaurants require reservations, though some (like Chez Isabelle and The Grill) have dress codes.

 Drinks

Name-brand booze is included at no extra charge.

Finding a well-mixed martini in the Dominican Republic is usually a fruitless exercise, but not at Excellence. There's actually a martini bar. Name-brand booze is included in the all-inclusive package.

 Bottom Line

Excellence is a relaxing, adults-only, 446-room resort with a winding pool, in-room Jacuzzis, four-poster beds in some rooms, top-shelf martinis, and a great spa, plus more privacy and better (not great) food than at most Dominican resorts. Although the beach is rougher than in most of Punta Cana, this resort's a great pick for the price.

Things You Should Know About Excellence Punta Cana

Address

  • Playas Uvero Alto - Higuey Provincia La Altagracia DO

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Excellence Punta Cana Dominican Republic
  • Excellence Punta Cana Resort
  • Excellence Resort
  • Excellence Resort Punta Cana
  • Punta Cana Excellence
  • Secret Excellence
  • Secrets Excellence
  • Secrets Excellence Punta Cana
  • Secrets Punta Cana

Room Types

  • Excellence Club Garden View Junior Suite
  • Excellence Club Honeymoon Suite
  • Excellence Club Mountain View Junior Suite
  • Excellence Club Ocean View Excellence Suite
  • Excellence Club Ocean View Junior Suite
  • Excellence Club Ocean View Junior Swim Up Suite
  • Excellence Club One Bedroom Imperial Suite
  • Garden View Junior Suite
  • Honeymoon Suite
  • Junior Swim Up Suite
  • Master Suite
  • Mountain View Junior Suite
  • Ocean View Excellence Suite
  • Ocean View Junior Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 446
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Yes
Casino: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Address: Playas Uvero Alto - Higuey Provincia La Altagracia DO
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