For those who are interested my review of EPC is now published
Happy as always to answer any questions either on here or by PM
Great informative review and cant wait for our first visit in 47 days. Thank you
great pics flip thanks for sharingEdited: 14 May 2018, 00:08
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Only part is showing despite clicking on "more" . It stopped where the food was first mentioned.
MissFitts, I have the same problem. I understand that TA are aware of it. I suppose that they will get round to fixing it eventually.
See copy of the full review below
We recently returned from yet another 21 night multi-resort trip where we stayed 10 nights at Sanctuary Cap Cana followed by 4 nights at Excellence Punta Cana and our final 7 nights at Excellence El Carmen
This was our 43rd trip to the Caribbean and our 19th trip to Dominican Republic. This was our eighth stay at Excellence Punta Cana having first stayed there way back in 2007 when it was in fact our very first stay at an Excellence Resort. I have to admit that on our last stay in 2014 we were a little disappointed for the first time as things were not quite right and the property was beginning to show its’ age in places. Following the news that they were going to carry out a multi-million dollar update and remodel we decided to book a return trip and we are very glad we did
We have been lucky enough to have stayed in many, many, properties all over the world including all of Excellence Groups Resorts, excluding Excellence Oyster Bay which we will be visiting in September, so we like to think we are a fairly good judge of standards with regards to the hospitality and travel industry
Our transfer from Sanctuary Cap Cana was totally trouble free and we arrived at the property in just under 45 minutes to be welcomed home by Francisco the General Manager who we know from our stays in Playa Mujeres, Mexico and Diosmary the Guest Services Manager. At first it appeared that not much has changed as the Reception, Theatre and Martini Bar are just the same as before apart from new furniture. However, one big change we noticed right away was that as soon as you arrive at the entrance to the property you can see the ocean beyond
However, when Diosmary escorted us to the Excellence Club Reception to be checked in we started to see the extent of the remodelling with the re-siting of some of the restaurants. No more Casino but in its place a very nice Sports Bar and Aroma Coffee Shop. Nestled in where you used to have some rather dark ground floor rooms in Building #1 you now have the Excellence Club Reception which at first does not look all that impressive as it is much smaller than we have become used to at the likes of Excellence El Carmen. Tucked away round a corner to the reception area you have a small bar fully stocked with top-shelf brands
After checking in as our room was not quite ready we were escorted to the Oregano for lunch. First impressions were a little jaded as the service was a little slow and disjointed. However, the food was very good and the makeover they have done to what was the Grill Restaurant the last time we were there was very good indeed
After a leisurely lunch due to the slow service we had a walk around the property and were very impressed by all the changes we saw. The beach area has been really opened up and you now have a clear view of the ocean from so many different vantage points; more on the changes later
Our stay was from 19th April – 23rd April
OK if I may I will break this review up into different sections and cover off each item in turn
When we returned to the Excellence Club Reception after our walk around we were greeted by Antonio the Excellence Club Manager who we remembered from our previous stays when he was one of the EC Beach Concierge staff. Such a nice, very professional young man and it is great to see him in this elevated position. After a spot of reminiscing Antonio escorted us to #3109 which was an Oceanfront Excellence Club Suite with a wraparound balcony giving you panoramic views of the complete bay all the way down to Zoetry
It was really great to be in this suite type as it was the same type that we stayed in on our first trip 11 years ago but this time the room is very different indeed with a far nicer, more modern layout and far better equipped. In the weeks leading up to our trip we read many comments about the suites smelling damp, musty or worse but ours was free of any off-putting odours and remained that way for all our stay. In addition none of the people we talked with had any issues with their rooms either so perhaps previous problems have now been resolved
Apart from one minor issue on our first evening we had no issues with the servicing of our room or the restocking on the mini bar. All of the rooms now have a wall mounted control as part of the AC control panel where you can press a do not disturb or a please make my room button, this controls a red and green light system next to your door on the outside
The beach now has a very new look with less palms trees than we can recall. The Excellence Club Beach is now at the opposite end of the property and Las Olas now has been enlarged, given a large deck area and moved further down the beach near enough in line with the Lobster House and Oregano Restaurants
As with The Finest in Playa Mujeres and Excellence El Carmen you now have boardwalks which run the complete length of the beach which are not only great for guests getting from A2B but also for staff ferrying goods along the beach
All areas of the beach have more than enough thatched shades and an assortment of different loungers with the EC Beach having some metal four poster bali beds with adjustable shades
The ocean is as powerful and as mesmerising as ever and is still more for playing in or water sports than swimming due to the strong wave action. Life guards are still on hand in case anything does go wrong. During our short stay there was some weed around which the beach guys did a great job of collecting and taking away without any mechanical assistance – back breaking work in the searing heat just using wheelbarrows. Overall the beach was in very good condition and the beige coloured sand was as soft as ever
Please check out my photos which have numerous pictures of the beach and ocean
The Cascade Pool which was always popular with all guests is now restricted for the use of Excellence Club guests only and I think this will upset some loyal repeat guests who have not booked a Club Room. The Wedding Gazebo which was In the area in front of Buildings #1 - #3 has now been re-sited to the far end of the property where the Water Sports station used to be and in its place you now have beautiful oceanfront Excellence Club Pool complete with four poster sunbeds, and a bar. Certainly during our stay the pool and the surrounding deck area was very popular indeed
The main pool area has also been transformed and you can now walk around it without the fear of slipping on what was previously a rather treacherous tiled surface when wet. All of the new thatched shades are better sited around the pool with all of the foliage between the pool and the beach having been removed. The space is much better utilised with an elongated slightly raised deck area which runs along the a lot of the beachfront next to the boardwalk which has numerous shades and nice double lounger where guest can look out at the ocean
The beachfront Jacuzzi is still in place and is as popular as ever
Food & Beverage
Since our last stay and as part of the remodelling they have switched some of the restaurants around and altered the décor and furnishings. Personally we liked all of the changes especially to the likes of the Kitchen Table where again you can enjoy an oceanview. During our stay our breakfasts were split between The Lobster House (shame they have removed the little outdoor deck area) and the Magna (once indoor and once on the deck area). Lunches were split between the Oregano and the Kitchen Table. For dinner we had two dinners in the Magna Restaurant (one was perfect and the other a little disappointing), and one apiece in the Agave and Chez Isabelle
Overall the food was very good indeed and the service was primarily excellent and was a big improvement on our last stay
One of the greatest new additions is the transformation of what was the Spice Restaurant into the Excellence Club Lounge and Magna Restaurant. Bar service in the lounge was always impeccable and they have a wide range of brands available. The Magna Restaurant complete with outside terrace / deck area overlooking the beach and ocean is just wonderful and is in my opinion the best club restaurant they have of all their properties
They are a huge improvement on what was available before
One thing I cannot quite understand is why there is one less lunchtime dining option at Excellence Punta Cana compared with the likes of Excellence Playa Mujeres and Excellence El Carmen – just seems a little odd to me
It was great to see some familiar faces around and the majority were well mannered, good at their job and spoke excellent English. They also all looked very smart in their uniforms
The garden areas to the side and rear of the buildings are as lush and tropical as ever with lots of wild life around. The large lake area that sits between the property and service area / staff accommodation really looked good with lots of waterfowl enjoying the feature. The main changes to the grounds are to the beach side of the property where as I said earlier they have removed all the shrubs, many of the palm trees, etc and really opened up the beach frontage and I think it looks much better for it – some may disagree
Many of the repeat guests we talked with also liked all the changes and the way the beach and ocean which are two of the properties best features / assets are now being “shown off”. Before you used to read reviews of people who had book oceanview rooms and all they could see was foliage and palm trees – well all that has changed
The Theatre remains the same as it was on our previous stays the only change we could see was the new furniture which was very comfortable and the area was packed out most evenings. On the first two nights of our stay due to it raining people could not use the area outside the Theatre where the Prelude Bar (Kafe / Café renamed) is located so everyone was crammed into the Theatre and Martini Bar and things were pretty loud and getting out of hand here and there which took the edge off things
Luckily on the last two nights of our stay things were much calmer and much more like the Excellence Punta Cana we are used to. I do think the renovations and remodelling of the property have given it a much more modern feel and this has altered the demographics a little so you have more younger people and or people who like to party a little more
The evening shows which start at 21.30 during our stay were
Thursday = Burlesque Show
Friday = Michael Jackson Show
Saturday = Broadway Show
Sunday = Circus Show
The stand out show for us was the Circus Show
In addition to the shows themselves you have live music together with some fun and games before the show and then another session of live music after the show
Just for good measure the Alegria (Nightclub / Disco) is open 23.00 – 2AM
I thought I would mention this as it often can have an influencing factor on people’s trips and you see so many questions about it on the forums. During our 4 night stay at Excellence Punta Cana we were very lucky with the weather with lots of sunshine during the day and some rain in the evenings or overnight
We really loved what the owners have done to the property as the rooms now have a far more modern, clean feel to them. The addition of three dedicated pools for Excellence Club Guests and as I mentioned the wonderful Excellence Club Lounge and Magna Restaurant have all given the property a different feel and vibe and what was to us a rather dated property has been given a new lease of life. The great new addition of the Sports Bar and Aroma Coffee Shop bring it in line with many people’s expectations of the facilities that should be available
The whole property on the beach side has a far more open feel to it and you can now fully enjoy the ocean view. The old Excellence Punta Cana is still there but it now has a much younger, fresher and even upmarket feel to it
Having said all that what suits us will not suit everyone as we all have different tastes and expectations. A couple of long term repeat guests we spoke to said they now felt the property had a “them and us” feel to it with club guests having so many extra perks and they also felt the beach had lost its tropical feel
If we were to sum up Excellence Punta Cana in three short lines, to us they would have to be
WOW – Resort Reborn!!!!
The melodic sound of the waves
Overall we are really glad we decided to return to Excellence Punta Cana for an eighth time albeit only for a 4 night stay. The trip has well and truly erased the not so satisfactory experience we had on our last stay nearly four years ago. The property will always have a place in our hearts as it is where our Excellence journey began and had we not discovered it we would not have had so many great holidays since and met so many great people along the way
Thanks to all the staff that treated us so well especially Diosmary and Antonio
Should you be interested in seeing some photos of the property please feel free to send me a PM and I will happily forward you a link to my full photo album
Please note that some room-shot photos may include some items that are either only applicable to that particular room type and / or were given to us as a surprise with us being loyal repeat guests and are not part of the standard package
As always I am happy to answer any questions
We are at EPC now for the 2nd time and agree with most of Flip Flop Man says. One thing I do not like, and please correct me if I am remembering things incorrectly, is the change in the tile of the main pool. I believe it used to be blue and was so pretty. It is now gray and I think it makes the pool look less appealing. The cascade pool is still blue and I prefer that. The last time we were here we spent most of our time at the beach and pool on what is now the non-club side, so now we are experiencing the resort from the other end. I do miss the old EC club and the snacks available there, but it is not a deal breaker for us. The addition of Aroma is great. We have not gone to the sports bar yet, but it was very popular at dinner last night (you can wear shorts there).
The beach is clean, although there was a lot of seaweed in the water today, which is beyond anyone's control. The waves were fun to swim in and we are having a wonderful time!
Thank you Flip Flop Man for your reviews and live report. It has really helped us get around the "new" EPC!
Yes the main pool used to have blue tiles
There are still some snacks, etc available in the new EC Lounge area or there were one afternoon when we were in there similar to what you can get in the Aroma
Keep on having fun