from Indianapolis, Indiana
Submitted on 19-09-2016
Wow... I really don't even know where to begin!
First off, I am extremely cautious of what I spend my money on. For our honeymoon, I wanted the best bang for my buck, no big problems, and I was super worried because I've never been out of the country. I have also never been to an all-inclusive resort. I read reviews upon reviews at sooo many different places, it made my head spin. I hadn't even found the Excellence on any websites, and I'm so glad I went through a travel agent, because she tol...
Wow... I really don't even know where to begin!
First off, I am extremely cautious of what I spend my money on. For our honeymoon, I wanted the best bang for my buck, no big problems, and I was super worried because I've never been out of the country. I have also never been to an all-inclusive resort. I read reviews upon reviews at sooo many different places, it made my head spin. I hadn't even found the Excellence on any websites, and I'm so glad I went through a travel agent, because she told us about this resort. And so my review-reading and research began. I only found a couple "bad" reviews (most of which I thought the people were being kind of picky, but that's just a personal opinion. You can't please everyone!)
CHECK-IN: I was very nervous on the ride in to the resort from the airport (about 40 minutes), because I've never done any traveling like this before, but as soon as I got to the resort, all of my worries pretty much melted away. The staff took our luggage and showed us to the check-in desk. We were poured champagne and the staff were SO nice and welcoming. Check-in was super easy. We were taken right to our room with the help of the staff bringing our luggage.
ROOM: Our room was awesome, I think it was the cheapest one you can get (junior suite). King-size bed, Jacuzzi, shower, and garden view. Super cute, with a hammock in the back (comfy hammock, too)! Oh and I made a friend with a cat the first day.. lol..she was super sweet and kept coming around (I'm an animal lover so I enjoyed it). Housekeeping was always on point. We left tips for them because we got sand on the floors and they were always spotless when we came back. Always smelled good, never any musty smells. There was also incense for us to burn which I loved! My hubby wanted more pillows and they brought them right down. There is a safe in the room and we kept our valuables in there, which was nice and made me feel better about having cash on us. Husband said the bed was too hard, but I thought it was super comfortable. A/C was always working and our room felt soooo good after a hot day on the beach.
GROUNDS: Man, there was always staff working on keeping the grounds beautiful. They all work so hard, and it doesn't go unnoticed! Beautiful landscaping. Beautiful beach, and they work each morning to get the stuff off the beach that washes up. The pools were super clean all the time. We did find a crab swimming in one of the pools, and we put him back on the beach..lol...I think he was lost Haha! The buildings are a little dated but that's just what happens when something has been around for a while. The rooms seem updated though. No problems whatsoever with our A/C, water, etc.
RESTAURANTS: The food was great, in my opinion. I don't like seafood, but my husband does and he said it was delicious. Our least favorite restaurant was "Spice", the Asian-inspired cuisine. I think we just had a weird experience there, we waited for about an hour and a half to get a table (we did have a big group, though, because we made friends with some couples there so there were 6 of us). So I understand the wait, but then it took forever to get service, which again, what do we have but time? So not a big deal. The food was bland, to me. That's the only reason it wasn't my favorite. The french restaurant is pretty darn good, service is wonderful. We asked for champagne pretty much every night and we got a whole bottle at each restaurant. They really do anything to make the customer happy! The Mediterranean restaurant was DELICIOUS, and the manager MIGUEL was SO AWESOME! he went above and beyond to make our dinner great. We also loved the tapas restaurant (flavor market). I told the waiter I wasn't sure what I wanted, and he literally brought me everything and it was ALL delicious. (I'm so sad I can't remember his name!!). Pizza was good, too...we ordered like 5 pizzas around 1:30am and took them to the hot tub! The buffet food is just that...nothing extraordinary but if you can't be happy on a vacation, then I don't think you can be happy ever...lol... but overall, nothing made me sick, which is what I was most worried about! And I even ate my steak medium-rare, and I'm fine. Lobster house is good for breakfast, great view, yummy food. Pretty much everywhere we went, we got right into the restaurants and had quick and friendly service. There's also a grill on the beach and we would get lunch and go sit with our feet in the waves and eat. The food was always delicious. We also had a really nice waiter named Victor, and he was super sweet and helpful.
STAFF: Where to begin? This trip would have been mediocre at best without the amazing staff at Excellence. THEY ARE SERIOUSLY SO AMAZING! Every single one of them always had a smile, always said "hola!" while walking past. Everyone was so happy and genuine and helpful. One morning, I wanted Bailey's in my coffee at the buffet. Usually you have to wait until 10 for the bars to start opening to get that...but my waiter went all the way across the resort pretty much and brought some back. He definitely didn't have to do that, but he did because I asked for some! They go out of their way to make you happy, without expecting anything. We brought money for tipping but service is the same whether you tip or don't, which is wonderful because you don't feel like you are being pressured to tip EVER!
SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to ERGIE (LG) ... he was by far my favorite person at the resort. SUCH a sweet and nice, genuinely happy person. He went above and beyond to make us laugh, make us have everything we needed, he played volleyball on the beach with us, made our stay amazing, and we miss him already!! LG WE WILL COME BACK JUST TO SEE YOU!!! :)
The entertainment group is great at the resort. Julio Cesar (aka JAY-Z lol), Rosi, and Epifany were awesome as well. Such friendly and amazing people that make the resort as good as it is.
BEACH: The beach is wonderful. On super hot days, get out early to get a cabana with shade. Otherwise, there are plenty of beach chairs. Towels ran out on the busy days, but you just had to go back and check for them. No big deal. Someone wrote a bad review because they didn't have a towel right that second. Really...not that big of a deal! The undertow is pretty crazy in the water, so be careful. You can get pulled under and even if you're a good swimmer, it can get rough out there! Lifeguards will be out to watch you, which is nice, but sometimes they blow the whistle to let you know you're going out too far. I suggest renting a boogie board (free) and snorkeling (also free) off of the beach. It's pretty fun. We wanted to see calmer, more clear water and do a longer snorkeling trip, so we booked an excursion to Catalina island for $90/person and boy was it worth it! TIP: take bread and put it in a water bottle to squirt out for the fish when snorkeling or diving. They'll swarm you! A lot of people brought GOPRO cameras, which is also a good idea!
HORSEBACK RIDING: We have horses at home, so we didn't want to pay to do horseback riding. It did come with our trip for 30 minutes for free, but I don't really recommend it. The horses weren't in the best shape, and they were obviously not excited about being out in the heat carrying people around. Otherwise, it was an overall good experience.
ENTERTAINMENT: There is a show every night, and there's also a disco. William (aka WILL - I - AM, haha!) showed us a great time...he's such an awesome dancer and great fun!! You can't be bored at this place...if you are, that's your own fault! Volleyball in the pool and on the beach, water polo, games by the pool, archery, there is a sport's bar and putt-putt.... tennis courts, a gym, etc. The gym is pretty nice.
BARS/ALCOHOL: Okay, I'm not a big drinker. But I do suggest bringing a YETI or an OZARK cup....they keep your drink super cold ALL DAY!! I suggest getting a coco loco in a coconut..super yummy! Their drinks are delicious and they'll make you pretty much whatever you want. To me, they don't go light on the alcohol. It was great! Each bar was great, the pool/swim-up bar was awesome! They bring drinks to you if you're in the pool or on the beach as well. Always good service.
I would definitely suggest bringing your own mosquito/bug spray and sunscreen. It can get expensive if you're buying it there.
I hope I covered everything, and overall I had the best week of my life. I wish I never had to leave...I miss it so much already! We were there from 9/5 to 9/12. We will definitely be going back!