My wife and I visited the Excellence Punta Cana Resort in February. This blog is a departure from my normal emphasis on photography. While part 3 of this blog will be dedicated to photography, I found that I had so much information on the experience at Excellence Punta Cana that I would write a review for future visitors of Excellence in the first blog posts.
Sunrise on the Beach at Excellence Punta Cana
In order to keep the blog posts to a reasonable length, I’ve divided the material into 3 posts.
- Excellence Punta Cana Review – Accommodations and Dining
- Excellence Punta Cana Review – Things to Do
- Photography Opportunities at Excellence Punta Cana
Travel to/from the Airport
It is about a 45 minute drive from the airport to Excellence Punta Cana. We used a transportation company called Amstar that was provided thru Cheap Caribbean. Amstar also provides the transportation for Apple Vacations and schedules the excursions for your visit.
We ordered private transportation to/from the airport as we wanted to ensure that we didn’t stop at multiple resorts along the way. There was some confusion from the Amstar coordinator about our destination and the private transportation. After about 10 minutes, they got it straightened out. Overall, an enjoyable ride and the drivers were safe. No problems on the return trip.
We had reserved an Ocean View, Junior Suite. The room was a good size, had all the amenities we needed, and was clean. In fact, the entire resort was kept clean. Employees were constantly mopping the walkways and boardwalk. The room was a little outdated and could probably be updated. For us it was fine.
Excellence Punta Cana Shower Window
There was one interesting design feature in the room. The shower has a window from the waist up into the main bedroom area of the room. Also the toilet is located in front of the shower which has a glass door. If you are a private person, you may have a concern with this set up. The toilet can be made more private by putting a bath towel over the shower door.
The WiFi signal was weak in the room. It worked much better on the balcony.
We also upgraded to the Excellence Club. The upgrade cost about $50 a night per person which to us was worth the upgrade. The Excellence Club provides the following additional benefits. I’ve added my comments in parenthesis.
- Private check-in & check-out – (Excellence Club members are taken to the Excellence Club Lounge for check-in)
- Late check-out & early check-in
- Private Concierge – (This was a nice feature. We stopped in a couple of times to ask questions. However, the excursions are still handled by Amstar)
- Private lounge with WiFi, buffet, and bar. (We tried to use it once but found the WiFi to be weak)
- VIP toiletries
- Upgraded minibar and room service menu
- Upgraded in-room premium liquor and wine bottle selection. (Nice selection and you can exchange a bottle for something different)
- Nespresso Machine
- Private Beach. (Beach chairs with tiki umbrellas. They also have a concierge, beach waiters for beverages and pizza)
- Daily complementary newspaper
- Beach bag. (This was nice since we forgot ours)
- Fresh flowers and sparkling wine in room on arrival. (They also left an additional bottle of sparkling wine in our room during the week).
- Daily fruit and petit fours in room (This only happened once)
Excellence Club Private Beach
There are 8 restaurants plus a beach snack grill at Excellence Punta Cana. You do not need to make reservations at any of the restaurants just walk up. We ate early around 6:30pm and did not have to wait at any of the restaurants.
There are seafood, Italian, Mexican, French, Spanish, Pan Asian, and Tapas restaurants at Excellence. Our favorite restaurant was the Market Garden which is the Tapas restaurant. They have an excellent selection.
There are a lot of reviews on the Internet that say the food at Excellence was good not great. We had a good experience with dining at Excellence. The service was terrific and only at one meal was our beef overcooked. Most of the food was mildly seasoned at Excellence even those entrees that were marked as spicy.
We went during mid February and the weather was perfect. Partly cloudy or clear each day with Highs in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 70s. I noticed scattered showers and thunderstorms in the forecast for the weeks before and after we arrived, but for us it was perfect.
Don't forget to bring insect repellent. There are plenty of mosquitoes. They are not bad on the beach because of the wind. But we did get bit at the ecological garden. Also, some of the restaurants are open air so you can get bit after dark there as well.
There was a malaria warning while we were there. We erred on the side of caution and took malaria pills during our visit. If you take the daily pills, you have to take them 2 days prior to leaving, during your stay and 7 days after leaving. Check out the CDC Travelers Health website for more information about vaccines and health alerts when you travel.