We touched down in Punta Cana in the late afternoon after a smooth flight from Manchester on Thomas Cook Airlines. We were welcomed by bright colours, traditional Merengue dancers and beautiful music – a real Caribbean ambience. This being my first visit to the Dominican I was extremely excited at the prospect of staying here for two weeks. We collected our luggage and made our way to our private transfer provided by VIP Tours. The VIP representatives were very helpful and escorted us to our transfer straight away. The private transfer was much more comfortable as we were able to travel to our resort directly without the hassle of dropping off other passengers at different hotels.
We arrived at Excellence Punta Cana a mere 40 minutes later and we were greeted by an inviting smile, an ice cold glass of champagne and a cool flannel; which I must say after an 8 an a half hour flight was perfect! We were then taken to our own private check in, in the Excellence Club area of the hotel where we were also given a short tour of the Excellence club facilities. Being a part of the Excellence club allowed us direct access to the executive lounge, which hosted a relaxing environment to enjoy a variety of refreshments throughout the day, as well as unlimited access to the internet and satellite television.
We were swiftly guided to our room, which was an Excellence club junior suite on the top floor of block 8. The room was beautifully furnished and equipped with our own Jacuzzi, upgraded mini bar (which was anything but mini), an enormous bed and above all a stunning view. The room was complete with exclusive toiletries, bathrobes and slippers… which are real ‘homely’ comforts whilst staying abroad. After a tiring day we decided to stay in the room and sample the delights of the 24 hour, all inclusive room service. The room service menus provided us with a multitude of dishes that were beautifully presented and tasted equally as good.
During our stay at Excellence we spent the majority of our time down at the beach. As we were part of the Excellence club, we were granted access to the Excellence Club private beach; which was amazing! We were able to relax on the king sized ‘beach beds’ which were located on beautiful golden sands, facing the crystal clear ocean. The concierge staff at the Excellence club beach were brilliant and ensured our needs were always catered for.
We also spent a lot of time around the main pool area which meandered from the heart of the hotel (Santo Domingo Plaza) to the far end of the Excellence Club buildings. The pool hosted a variety of activities during the day such as volleyball, aqua aerobics and scuba diving lessons. Aqua aerobics was my favourite as it allowed me to burn off some of those extra calories I had indulged in during the afternoons!
One of my favourite aspects of Excellence was the Ecological-Park. The Eco-park is set in the grounds of the hotel and allows you to walk around a 607 metre nature trail, surrounded by the most beautiful flowers and lakes. The free roaming flamingo’s were amazing and came right up close to us whilst we walked around, as well as the hundreds of turtles swimming close by in the lakes. I also grew very fond of the resident Macaw parrots at the hotel; they were incredibly friendly and even allowed you to feed them!
The night time entertainment was superb! The Tribute to Michael Jackson show was absolutely flawless and for a moment convinced us that it was the real thing! The circus night was also fantastic…the acrobats really interacted with each member of the audience as they swung through the air attached to drapes. Live jazz music was played for the remainder of the evenings in the Martini bar, which allowed us to completely unwind.
The food at Excellence was to a very high standard and all types of international cuisine were considered. Each restaurant offered a vast selection of A la carte dishes, which often made it difficult to decide where to eat. I particularly liked Agave the Mexican restaurant and the grill as they served tasty little appetisers before the meal – a really nice touch. Oregano was also a great place to eat as the tables were set in an Italian style courtyard, accompanied by soothing music and candlelight…perfect for a romantic evening!
I was keen to swim with the dolphins whilst in the Dominican and was advised by our rep to take a visit to Dolphin Island. We took a 50 minute bus ride to the Island which was based on the Caribbean Ocean side of Punta Cana.
The Island is in a quiet location situated on white sugar sands and surrounded by the most beautiful scenery.
After a short talk on what to expect from the dolphins we were taken out on a speedboat to the inlets were the dolphins were kept. When we arrived at the dolphin pens we were pleasantly surprised that we also had the opportunity to swim with sharks and stingrays. I was a little apprehensive at first but the sharks were fantastic, and thankfully kept a great distance!! The dolphins were incredible too; we got to spend around 40 minutes in the water with them as well as getting a kiss on the cheek. We were also taught how to do tricks with the dolphins and at the end of the free swim we watched the dolphins perform. We made our way back to Dolphin Island where we were able to purchase photo’s to commemorate our day.
I had an absolute blast in the Dominican! My stay at Excellence Punta Cana was magical and we couldn’t have wished for anymore. I was completely blown away by the service provided in all aspects of the hotel. The staff were exceptionally pleasant at all times and literally bent over backwards to ensure our stay was as enjoyable as possible. Rest assured I will return to the Dominican Republic in the very near future!