Historical Traveller Reviews of Secrets Excellence Punta Cana Hotel
Ww Loved It!
from A TripAdvisor Member
Have stayed at four resorts on the island. This is by far the one we enjoyed the most. Happy staff, gorgeous grounds and beach, good food, beautiful room with spa-tub............cannot be outdone on Punta Cana. We'll be back!
from A TripAdvisor Member
Great place, clean nicely appointed rooms, couteous staff, and lots of pretty good food and drink. We arrived and were pormptly taken to our room. I'm still not sure how they managed to process the two buses that arrived at one time, but they did. Our luggage and we made it to the cool room that was awaiting us. As we were tired, we took advantage of the 24 hr. limited menu room service, and it was fine. From there on, we pretty much dined in the various restrants, and one things taht was in common, the people bent over backwards to please us. While not all of them spoke great English, most did, and they made up for any language shortcomings with extra effort. you cna;t ask for more than that! While I also speak enough spanish to order food and get around, the spanish wasn't really needed. The recreation and dance instructors spoke better english than most others, like the maids. They also made all of the activities fun. One fellow, Calvin Klein (name not real I'm sure) was a great dance instructor and a real comedian to boot! The room was clean, we got fresh linens addn towels daily, no musty smells unlike some oth carribean resorts. It was also very beuatifully decorated and furnished, with a lot of indigenous mahogan and/or cherry wood working and doors everywhere in public areas and restuarants. The pools were alos huge and you could generally fins a bit of privacy if you looked. The straw cabanas also made for anice afternoon nap spot out of direct sun for my blancito (whitey) backside and semi balding head (a little bit of humor for your reading pleasure) . The outdoor grills/restaurants) were also a change of pace for a lunch in the shade with a steady cool breeze. The beach was beautiful-period. As good as any, situated in a bit of a cove, but still has some waves. There seemed to be sailboats (or catamarans) to rent, and other sport, although the purpose for my workaholic self being there was to do absolutely as little as possible. There was also a neat bar near the beach, which served cbig drinker, there was plenty to be found, after somewhere around 10-11 am. It was also not a rip-roaring party spot, with a bunch of want-to-be partiers, getting sick all over the place. Things were upbeat, lots to do, without the feel of a place like Hedonism or Club Med. There was also no gross public displays of affection (spelled sex) in this place either. Things were classy and it is a great place to go for an upscale al-inclusive with your spouse, friend, etc.. Go and have fun, Linda and I did! Learn some latin dances, drink a few refreshments, eat some good food and go back home realxed. While it is a bit pricey, it's worth the expense when all quality things are considered. i'm going back in March '03 for a week. Joe from Maryland
Lived up to expectations
We decided to spend our holidays at this resort despite reading reviews on this & other sites. There seemed to be lot of negative comments, mainly in reading from those who travelled with one particular orgainization. We also noticed that, in the main, things started off badly for them with poor flights, delays, cancellations etc. & this I feel set their tone for their vacation. Off to a bad start,& nothing ever seems right after that. We were there in the 1st. Week of February & found it to an excellent spot to relax & enjoy your vacation. We used Conquest as our carrier & after a good flight (4h 10m). we were looked after all the way to the large 58 seat motor coach by Conquest staff. then off to Secrets Excellence for the 45min. trip. We were greeted at the resort with a refreshing cocktail & a warm towel to cool our faces after the journey. Some people have complained about the roads & in some areas I agree they needed work. But it's not back home, & if you have to complain about little matters such as that, well maybe you should not travel outside of the area where you live. Anybody who lives in the Northern States or Canada knows of a few winter potholes. The room was exactly as advertised & in the photos, large, clean, airy & the jacuzzi was a definite bonus. It is also easy to put too much hot water in so be careful with the temperature. As we arrived late at night & the restaurents were closed we ordered from the 24 hour Room service. This in itself is a rarity in an all inclusive resort. We had Chicken Clubs & a fruit cocktail, which was well marinated in aged rum, tasted fantastic. As there was no printed menu in the room we ordered from a verbal list on the phone. It arived in about 15mins. We asked the waiter for a menu & ran into the language barrier & we speak little or no Spanish & he had about the same amount of English. However, what impressed us that after about 10 mins. we had a phone call from room service enquiring as to what my wife wanted, we explained & one was delivered. The layout of the resort is excellent, the pool wends it's way like a river through the resort & thus there is plenty of poolside room. With a large number of loungers & a number of shade huts. There is also poolside bar service, if the effort of getting your own is too much. They have a large variety of drinks & at the swim up bar they had a printed menu to see what you fancied. Bottled water was available at all bars in the resort. The staff were the friendliest of people, unfortunately a number of the guests were not. If they spoke to servers back home in that manner, they would have been eating a knuckle sandwich. The staff just smiled right back at them. We heard some rudely & loudly complain that there was no F****** Miller lite. They should have stayed in the trailer park. The Steak & Seafood restaurents were open for lunch as well as a first class buffet in the breakfast restaurent, which transformed at night to the Italian & Oriental restaurents. The food was first class all the way & we had no complaints. the seafood was fresh, well prepared & presented & the menus changed every day. The steakhouse also served an great lunch with a good variety of choices. The Rib Eye & strip loin the the evening were good.The Chateaubriand in the International restaurent (for which you now phone for reservations, no more lining up to reserve).was so tender(medium rare) it just melted in your mouth & did not need much chewing. The service here was the slowest, but where are you really rushing off to. They were not trained to a white glove service as advertised. The waiters elsewhere seemed to be higher trained. the Italian restaurent for example.We chose as our last lunch. the Buffet & on that day they served, Roast leg of Lamb with rosemary, Roast Chicken, Barbqued Pork Chops, & Fish in a Crab sauce. along with a variety of side dishes, including hot & cold pastas. The food overall was of the highest quality considering the large number of guests to cater for. I would recommed Bug Spray & Afterbite , although we were not bothered as there was a light breeze in the evening & it kept the bugs down, however we sprayed our legs before venturing out in the evening as a precaution. The on site store was charging $14US for a spray can of OFF. Set up a Hotmail or Yahoo e-mail address before you leave & you will have access to messages. Outlook & Outlook Express does not allow anything other than a local e-mail to be sent. There was over 60 messages queued waiting to go & never would, as this was not apparent until you tried to send them. We also took the Outback Safari into the countryside & it gave you you a good insight to the local living conditions, visit their site for further information. It was well worth the day out. Part of the travelling experience is finding out how other lived. Well catered for Lunch, drinks, with excellent & knowledgable guides. All in all, summing it up, a wide variety of excellent food, first class top shelf drinks, friendly staff, very clean, well maintained, & the Bath Robes in your room to relax in after a shower was an added touch. The daily re-stocked MiniBar fridge, was a nice touch just to have a cool beer relaxing on the balcony, after a shower & before venturing out for the evening.
from A TripAdvisor Member
My wife an I travelled to this resort for our honeymoon in early February 2003. We had somewhat mixed feelings, but overall felt we had a good time and the resort had many great attributes. During our stay it was spotlessly clean. There was an abundance of staff who cleaned continually and the maintenance crew was also very diligent, however it did seem to be a 'high maintenance' resort. The beach was excellent, but it is a windy location and the water is definitely rough. This didn't bother us at all, as we spent most of our time around the pool which is certainly a high point of the resort. The pool is perfect size and beautifully laid out close to the beach. Also well kept. The rooms were great. We had an ocien view which was nice, but, like most people, we didn't spend much time in the room. The layout of the property was great. Everything was close by, and a lot of detail to everything, especially common areas. The bars were great, and for those that enjoy spirits, there was an excellent selection and obliging bartenders, though from time to time they did need some help to understand what you wanted. The food, for the most part, was excellent. Breakfast was great every morning and the lunch selections were plentiful. We enjoyed the seafood restaurant most days for lunch. There was good selection for dinner, and the international restaurant was great, but difficult to get into (reservations required). I did get quite sick from one meal at the mexican restaurant which disabled me for about a day, however I considered this something you can get anywhere you go, including your home town, so I didn't get too upset about it. It definitely helps to know a little spanish if you travel here, but this should be an expecatation when travelling to the DR. The staff enjoyed it when we tried speaking spanish and were always willing to help us. Overall the staff were excellent, though service was sometime inconsistent. They don't do things quickly in this country, which whe your on vacation is not necessarily a bad thing. We enjoyed extended casual lunches and dinners and soaked up the atmosphere. This resort is remote. We did not go on any excursions, and those we spoke to who did had mixed reviews. This is a place you go to relax! I have read many complaints about the roads etc., but you have to remember where you are. It didn't bother us at all, in fact, we foudn it quite amusing and enjoyed our trip to and from the airport. The bugs did not bother us much, but you should prepare for it with repellant. One complication we had was the seemingly resort wide misunderstanding of how to get into the international restaurant, which , of course, was the best. When we arrived we were told you simply had to line up at about 6:00 pm and wait for a table, which could take a few hours. Then, some people we met said they were a given a note in their room on the third day of their stay saying you could call a number and leave a message to get a reservation. Evidently, not all guests received the note, since we, along with many other had no idea. When I inquired one night with the hostess how to get a reservation, I was told to do it at the front desk. They, of course, told me to call the number to make a reservation. I called and left three messages, none of which were returned. The next morning I called the number at about 9:30 am and after about 30 rings some answered and I was ablt to make a reservation. The process would be fine, except not all the guests were aware of it. Communicaiton was definitley lacking. More posting of sings to indicate such things as menus and reservation processes would help a lot for the guests. All in all we had a great stay!.
Avoid this Sweat Shop Resort
from A TripAdvisor Member
We just returned from Secrets Excellence in Punta Cana. We will not return and there are many reasons why. We paid, for information, $2500 for 7 nights, two people, all-inclusive, air, Apple, a good deal/fair price in America's winter. We had problems and at first thought it was "just us." We arrived via Apple Vacations and check-in took around 2 hours... chaos at the front desk. Our room ended up not being ready until 6 PM that evening--arrived 3 PM. Resort was 98% full, which explains a lot. The horseback riding which is "included" is a joke.. the resort makes it diffficult to attain and book such reservations. For example, our 1st day there, not once in 7 days was the ride available at any time. And to find this fact out, we spoke with 4 different people. We noticed the same workers cleaning @ 7 AM were later serving dinners @ 8 PM. We felt sorry for them. We tipped everywhere, but still received poor service. Often we seated ourselves after waiting, waiting, and waiting some more--WITH A RESERVATION. We watched numerous people turned away, one on crutches, because their reservation was lost in a snafu. Again, we seated ourselves after waiting--WITH A RESERVATION for the main restaurant every night we ate there. One person would bring water, the other appetizers.. we often were brought courses twice because of the lack of communication. Refills were offered twice during our entire stay in the main dining room. My husband actually got up once, walked to the soda fountain, glasses in hand, and refilled our sodas... and the workers who saw him do that said nothing. We requested this twice that evening, and waited 25 minutes... we are willing to get our own soda and are not above this, but... it was ridiculous. Many nights no reservations were available, we were told, despite there being 5 couples seated in a 117-person-capacity restaurant--we booked dinner every evening the 1st night there. We ordered pizza one night, and it never came, nor did we see our waiter after ordering
d the situation. They quickly got our order through and explained there were unsure where our waiter went. We did not even attempt room service. Many nights, our room was not cleaned until 6 and 7 PM. I kid you not. 2 days went by where our room was not even cleaned at all, no new towels, nothing. We called the front desk several times about this and nothing was done. The resort is either understaffed, poorly managed, or both. We wanted to make this trip special, fun, and the resort ruined it. The ocean was gorgeous, but rough, fellow tourists wonderful, and most staff were gracious--OUTSIDE the dining areas. Drinks were great, the trip was relaxing, booked a tour and swam with nurse sharks, stingrays--all in a cage. However, this resort was highly unorganized and for a 6 GOLDEN Apple rating.... we would surely cringe to see a 4-star ratied resort, which must be a sewer with 3 people working per every 1,000 tourists. We have been to Mexico many times, other areas as well, and have never experienced such horrendous service and apathy. We were never "mistreated..." we just often weren't treated at all. And tipping made no difference (we would NEVER consider not tipping). The hotel manager was not helpful, reservations for dinner in the main restaurant were unorganized, lost, and made little difference in service. One evening, dinner took 3.5 hours after arrival. We waited, waited, waited... the entrees? Steaks. Nothing special. Breakfast was a bit better, and we realize this is not fast food, "America," etcetera.. but we were not offered refills once during breakfast. Again, my husband walked, glasses in hand, and poured orange juice several times.. it was so bad some other guests who walked by my husband commented, "Hey, we saw you get up and get our own drinks.... we were going to ask you to get ours, haha, since you are a better server than anyone working here.. WE DID THE SAME THING, THOUGH..." Point: it was not just us. We had an open mind. Punta Cana was pretty, but no better th
appreciate tourism. We guess the resort pays nothing to its workers, and is a mere sweat shop. The result: employees who are exhausted and don't care. We are unsure, at times, if ANYONE was managing the resort. The grounds were beautiful, but we noticed some cups in several common areas.... and these same cups remained until the date of our departure. That means certain areas had not been cleaned in over 6 days...AVOID THIS RESORT. SAVE YOUR MONEY AND GO ELSEWHERE. AS A MATTER OF FACT, AVOID ALL SECRETS RESORTS, AS THEY ARE BUILDING WITHIN PLAYA DEL CARMEN, AND HAVE OTHER RESORTS. You have been warned, and we, I think, are nice people, who are often too timid to complain in any situation. This resort even tried our patience. This review is real, and our experiences not exaggerated. It's tough to find the positives after getting so upset about this "vacation." What a scam.
Know Before you go!
from A TripAdvisor Member
If you are going on a vacation, my advise to you would be to RESEARCH your destination BEFORE you actually get there. Nothing pains me more, than to hear about people who vacation in Punta Cana and talk negatively the whole time about how the roads were poor, the people couldn't speak any English, and complain the whole time about bugs! As everyone knows, "or should know", you have to do plenty of research about your vacation destination before you go, to make sure that this place is what you are looking for. My husband and I both knew what we were getting into when we chose to vacation at Royal Uvero Alto. We did plenty of research by asking different opinions from travel agents who had been there, research was done on the Internet, and we even called the resort to ask a couple of questions! This Resort was everything that we thought it would be, and we had a blast! We knew the staff was predominitely Spanish speaking (since they ARE in the Dominican Republic), so we brushed up on our Spanish and also took English to Spanish conversion books to be able to converse. Since bugs can be on any coast at any given time of the year, we were also prepared with bug spray. We learned of the climate for May, and knew it would be overcast and humid. We absolutely adored the staff and they loved us! We communicated efficiently with everyone, and they appreciated our efforts. When they didn't understand us, or we didn't understand them, a simple smile would work every time. Remember that you are in the Dominican Republic, and NOT in the USA. Their primary language is Spanish, just as the primary language in the USA is English. The point I am trying to make is simple...KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!
It was not good
We could not wait to go home. The bugs were very very bad. And you could not see them. They were very small and love females. The bugs did not bite the men as much. The service was very bad. Our room had no remote for the tv, the hot tub did not work. It took 4 days to get a lite bulb for a lamp in the room. The sheets in our room were not changed for 4 days. We took them off the bed and put them on the floor. Staff there seemed to be driven by tips. Would never go back to this resort.
wonderful but buy the local bugspray
from A TripAdvisor Member
It was an awesome vacation. EVERYONE is so nice( the staff!!!). We made some friends that we keep in touch with. Make sure you bring "SKIN SO SOFT" OR THE LOCAL STUFF IN THE MARKET (a small pump bottle), they have bugs(you cant see) but you get bit like a mosq.bite>>> Service great, drinks excellent. Bring singles for small tipping. People from other resorts wanted to come to ours. We were very happy!
Read About the Bugs before you go
from A TripAdvisor Member
No English ( hard to get what you want or need).
BUGS were horrific not just us everyone we saw had bad bites some needing medical attention.
It is hard to enjoy when your itchy day and night, some people said they were in the beds. We could not open any doors or sit outside. Could not eat in the outdoor restaurant I was eaten alive counted 20 bites One girl had 45 bites. DO NOT SPEND THE MONEY FOR THIS ONE EVEN THOUGH IT LOOKS REAL PRETTY. Call me to verify 905 6467883
Secrets Excellence in Punta Cana: A Very Romantic Resort
from A TripAdvisor Member
I went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in December 2002. I stayed at the resort called Secrets Excellence. The resort is absolutely amazing. It is definitely one of the nicest resorts that I have stayed at in the Caribbean. I can't even explain how beautiful the resort is.
Since Secrets Excellence is an adults-only resort and it is isolated from the outside world, the resort is very romantic. The resort is ideal for those people who are in love.
I was extremely pleased with the level of service at the resort, especially with the employees at the front desk. The lobby, restaurants, bars, swimming pools, spa, and fitness facility were impressive. I was also very happy with my room. It had a 4 poster king size bed, a large jacuzzi, a marble bathroom and shower, pillars and arches, and posh furniture.
The resort had 6 or 7 a la carte restaurants, and only one buffet restaurant that served breakfast. Since I am not a fan of buffet restaurants, I was pleased that there was such a variety in terms of a la carte restaurants. The best restaurants were the Mexican and the one that you had to make a reservation for. When you are at the initial briefing, you will be told that you need to make a reservation between 9 am and 12 pm on the day that you want to dine at this restaurant. A word of advice: you need to be at the front desk by 8 am because the restaurant is always booked by 9 am. I ran into a lot of disappointed people who weren?t able to make a reservation at this restaurant. Also, the alcoholic beverages, especially the pina coladas, were great. All I can say is that the alcoholic drinks were very potent!
As I love dressing up in the evenings, I was happy to find that a lot of people dressed up at the resort. It was a real showcase. For dinner, there were men who wore suits and women who wore evening dresses. It seemed like everyone at the resort had "flashy" designer sunglasses, clothes, shoes, and bags such as Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Fendi, and Prada. This may have been due to the time of year being Christmas and New Years.
Unfortunately, the weather was terrible during the trip. It rained most of the time. When I say rain, I mean "torrential" showers. I hardly spent any time at the beach because of the weather. The waves were enormous (surfing waves) and the water had an undertow. It was also extremely windy at the beach. I only went in the water once for approximately ten minutes, just so I could say that I had been in the water.
Fortunately, I had the chance to go for a walk on the beach one day. I was able to walk for miles without running into another resort or another person. I should let you know that the sand on the beach is NOT white, but golden. Despite this, the beach is still beautiful.
I only left the resort once to visit a local village. It was very sad to see how the people lived in dilapidated shacks, but surprisingly they seemed to be content with their circumstances.
All in all, I had a wonderful time at Secrets Excellence. I would definitely recommend this resort for those people who want rest and relaxation.
If you have any questions regarding this resort or you would like to see some pictures of the resort, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org