In a word…no wait, it will take many to describe the experience here at this beautiful Dominican Republic resort. The nature “up north” on the Uvero Alto area is so very nice since the beaches are lovely and quiet, unless you have the pleasure of balmy, wind-swept days as we were, when the waves make it dangerous to swim. The sounds of nature make me so incredibly happy. Waves crash often here in the winter.
It truly would take many pages for me to thoroughly share with you what you might expect in a vacation at Excellence Punta Cana or El Carmen (a five-minute drive or 35-minute beach walk south). That tends to be what I love most about travel…the unexpected blessings. I think it does you a disservice if I point out every little gem. You will want to come here to do your own treasure hunt. We met countless folks here (well, not throngs, but more than ten) who are repeaters. You come for the ocean and room, then return for the people who work here.
What I totally loved:
Every morning at 9 they offer a fat-tired bicycle ride. Nice ones! They had about 9 gears, two hand brakes, and when we arrived at the beach area, I wanted to continue down the hill on the sand. Opportunity missed! But we primarily stuck to the road, although the beach road was quite riddled with puddles in spots. Balance is needed, and I will be bringing a little bit of Dominican dirt home on my shoes. Grin.
The huts where we found these bikes were by the spacious and totally stocked fitness center. Two large rooms with plenty of “tools” for strength and balance.…so nice for yoga practice. Three tennis courts, 2 clay, and rackets to borrow. Foosball (beat him!) and table tennis (yup, again!). 2 pool tables, and even a mini golf on real grass. Archery, handball, and another little wall with a target but…not sure?
The food was delicious with healthy choices everywhere, juices I had never had before, and so much space I never had to wait for someone to be served. I do cook a bit at home and try hard to choose foods that are nutritious and good for me, so this part is huge. And yet I am not a good long sit for food, so buffets are perfecto. There aren’t buffet dinners here but service this time of year was quite speedy. The only wait was a breakfast in the Excellence Club restaurant called Magna. Sadly, we are not going to have time to dine in the evening here. Mexican this evening, as I loved the ambiance when peeking in.
Our room was comfy. The beds were firm, the way I like them. The first level of room category, our “spa” view was of a mountain in the distance, a large lagoon, and smaller ponds with fountains and stunning gardens. Sitting on the balcony in the evening was fantastic, with bird sounds and an egret (I believe).
This is a relatively compact resort, making it easy to run back to the room if you forgot something on the beach or at the pool. And lots of pool choices, so if you prefer quiet to the “thump thump” or rock-Dominican-style music, you are good. We loved the stunning waterfall pool over on the Excellence Club side, but there were no ocean breezes to enjoy, so I didn’t last very long there. Water was very cool, so you could jump in as needed and shock your body awake!
The beach is a lovely crescent, with no other resorts in site. While the currents can be wicked enough that you should not swim here, the El Carmen down the road typically has calmer waves to allow chitchats chest high. I know for some that is important! Sandy bottom, so no shells or rocks to accidentally cut your feet on, for you tenderfoot vacationers.
The food…no reservations needed except for the hibachi restaurant, and I love that. You don’t want to have to plan every moment of your evening, but there is plenty of music venues through your evening, fun activities during the day at the party pool and beach. Oh, also no wrist bands! Be as active as you desire, or find that quiet spot to chill, read, or sip your rum.
A highlight for me was the French Chez Isabelle with its giant pepper shaker. Fun décor, AC if you come in the summer, and wonderful service. The other most memorable (though they all were) was the Lobster house, open air just off the beach. We went as they opened to avoid any wait, and the food was both gorgeous and yummy. Isn’t it interesting how the view during a meal can make things taste so delicious? At least for me, anyway.
Goodness, the list of what I loved is long, right? So, let’s allow you your own treasure hunt soon, while I shift gears to comment on things that may influence your decision to choose this resort, or to stay at the sister resort, also adults only as Excellence Punta Cana, Excellence El Carmen.
Other things that may matter to you:
The water is calmer at El Carmen, as it is around the bend and is protected from the winds a bit more. A modern vibe and built quite recently, the plants are far from mature, and it occupies a larger space on the land. Still a lovely tree-lined beach, I found it enchanting, to be honest. Not as wide and with live music at lunch time from the beach bar/lunch bar spot, we enjoyed sitting in a chair listening to the sounds while watching people play. Nearly forgot to mention that we visited by taxi to arrive and walked back easily by sand and water. You might enjoy that you can visit with some locals selling their art and such along the way.
I will share more another time about the El Carmen…it’s too much information for this review. One of the most important things to note is that the services, restaurants, and shows are quite like the Excellence Punta Cana. You will be reassured that if you, too, fall in love with the way this company pampers you on vacation, you will find a similar resort in many other places in the world, especially in the Caribbean. They will welcome you home.
We didn’t experience any excursions on this trip, as I wanted to explore the on-site fun fully. Sigh…if only I had two weeks of vacation as many of the Europeans do. We met several Brits, some Canadians, many from the U.S., and a smattering of Latinos, most of whom stay more than 7 nights.
I believe only twice did I visit a public banos that had run out of towels to dry my hands. Most of the time I was “beaching” it, so wimping my hands on the coverup works! The staff at the front desk was stellar, and I am very grateful to Angel, who was able to upgrade me to the Excellence Club so that I might experience what many of my clients have experienced. The advantages are many, and you may check that out on the hotel website. Occasional top shelf alcohol, a beach bag, an hour-long hydrotherapy session that was awesome, and dining at Magna to name a few. Weigh the perks carefully when considering the upgrade price.
I will be fully transparent with you and acknowledge that Excellence rewarded me with a six-night stay because, as I own a travel agency, I booked six couples here in the Excellence Club for 7 nights last April. From Cincinnati we had a 7-night dedicated vacation flight (Vacation Express) with Allegiant that is non-stop, so that was a no-brainer, too! I added an extra night south towards the airport at Iberostar Selection on Bavaro Beach, and we are looking forward to that as well! Stay tuned, should you wish to learn a bit more about that area of Punta Cana. It’s said to be the most beautiful beach in Dominican, so I am very anxious to check it out for my ocean swim.
I hope this has helped you to get a feel for the experience you may have. Of course, each of us looks for a different thing while vacationing. I tend to move…as you may already know. There is a wonderful mix of movement and peace here at Excellence Punta Cana. May you enjoy it soon as well! Enjoy a few more visuals below, and gracias for reading along!