Yes, we’re well into January and I’m simply get around to writing this recap of our awesome honeymoon from October. I promise it’s a reflection on how busy life has been and not a reflection of our journey. The hardest its consideration of the report was opting which photos to share because there are so many!
Beach at Excellence El Carmen
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Want the short version of this review? You can see it over on TripAdvisor.
When we first started looking for honeymoon destinations, we were overwhelmed. We eliminated Mexico because we wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. We likewise wanted to go somewhere that wouldn’t take a really long time to travel to from our home in Kentucky, and we were firm with its own budget since we were also in the midst of spending a lot of fund on our wed. On the hunt for our tropical, all-inclusive, preferably adults only vacation spot, we turned to Carey of Beach Bum Vacations to help with recommendations. I’d first reached out to Carey when we briefly explored destination bridal options, and she was immensely helpful, quick to respond, and had a lot of first-hand knowledge from traveling to so many of these resorts. When it became clear we were going to do a neighbourhood marry, I knew we’d turn to her for booking our honeymoon. After going over our budget and wish list, she recommended we go to Excellence El Carmen, outside of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. She booked the resort and deliveries for us, and we booked our flights use certain existing levels with Southwest. It was great knowing she was there taking care of most of the arrangements, including resort petitions, sharing gratuities for international airports, etc.
Excellence El Carmen: The Resort
Excellence El Carmen is about a 40 -minute drive from Punta Cana International Airport, presuming you do a private delivery without any stops to lower passengers off at other resorts. Excellence does have another property in the area, Excellence Punta Cana, but we picked this one because it was newer and had the chamber type available that we wanted.
Upon arrival, we were saluted with champagne and a cool hand towel. Check in was swift, and we waited in the very spacious and modern vestibule to be taken to our rooms together with two other pairs who had just arrived. We had a mixup with a missing knapsack, but they promptly rectified that and we were on our lane. Along the trip-up to our rooms, we learned about the locations of the various saloons, restaurants, and amenities on the property. It’s not a boutique-sized resort, but it also didn’t feel overwhelming at all. And even though we heard it was pretty close to full tenancy, it never felt like there were many people there. We wanted a resort that wasn’t crowded, was pretty quiet and didn’t have a crazy party vibe. While they DID have daily and nightly activities if you wanted to be more social( silent disco, Dominican night, Michael Jackson show, White Party, games at the pool, etc) you could also take it easy if that was more your style. The amusement team was really fun and committing the couple of periods we came across them, but we retained things actually low key. If you’re looking for a spring breach type atmosphere, this is NOT it!
Part of the grounds of the hotel
Room: Suite with Private Pool and Deck
The resort has a lot of room characters to choose from, but we booked a suite with private pool and deck , non Excellence Club( I’ll get into Excellence Club a little later ). Not knowing how mobbed the shared pools would be when we arrived, having this private pool clanged awesome. Turns out there are so many shared ponds that they’re not crowded at all, except for the primary pool that had the daily activities( and even then, it wasn’t overcrowded in the least ). But, I love to swim and float and also didn’t want to feel self self-conscious in my swimsuits should the self-confidence monster creep in. When I learned they had a room type with a private pool, I was pumped. It did not disappoint!
When we got to our chamber in structure 12( chamber 12006 ), we were greeted by a honeymoon banner, which was fun. There are lots of honeymooners and anniversary-goers at this resort. Inside, the suite was very spacious. The suite had a living room with sofa, association chair, desk, minibar, and huge television; as well as the bedroom field with another large TV and the bathroom with 2 submerges, a shower, and a sunken jetted bathtub. There was also a walk-in closet off the living room with a lot of storage and a safe, as well as a second closet in the bedroom. There was a bowl of fresh fruit and a chilled bottle of sparkling wine waiting for us, along with a bed covered in towel swans and flowers.
Building 12 is in the back of the resort, but it was an easy 5-10 time saunter( at a leisurely pace) to anywhere in the resort. I know some people want to be as close to things as is practicable, but we acknowledged the extra tranquillity and privacy in return for a slightly longer walk.
Suite with private pool and deck
I* really* enjoyed the private pool!
The Restaurants and Service
There are 10 eateries at this resort, and we didn’t get to try them all! There existed 24 -hour room service, which we employed a few periods for lunch when we didn’t want to leave the pool. There is still a smattering of barrooms( perhaps 10 ?) so you’re never more than a few steps away from whatever you want. There is also service on the beach and at the pools, including our chamber pool! Shout out to William who always supported great service when we were in the pond. He learned which is something we liked and preserved it coming, and also delivered me the occasional hibiscus bloom 😛 TAGEND
Swimsuits For All bikini , no longer available in this color, but available in red and white!
Overall, we were really pleased with the service. Was it always consistent? No, but you’d expect that with such a large number of staff anywhere. We had one eatery suffer that left a lot to be wanted: 30 time wait( we didn’t encounter this any other place on the resort ), and then another 20 minutes to get someone to take our beverage order water after flagging person down, and another 30+ minutes waiting for our appetizers. I think it was an off darknes for everyone in that restaurant as other tables also gazed a little vexed. But it was a minor inconvenience when you’re dining by the beach at a tropical place! The meat wasn’t Michelin star quality, but they had a lot of variety, some of it was very good, and good-for-nothing we had was bad. Our favorite eateries: Flavor Market( tapas and service were astonishing ), Kitchen Table for their very large breakfast buffet with a lot of options, and Lobster House for lunch by the beach and also their Dominican breakfast. We also frequently stopped by Aroma for coffee, and had room service where we never had to wait longer than 45 times- this was a pleasant surprise after having actually long wait times at other resorts for chamber service. If you go to the Martini Bar and like coffee, you must try the espresso martini!
The last tropical vacation I took to Secrets Silversands was disappointing on the beach front. Excellence El Carmen blew me away with the beach! Wide swaths of sand, palapas, abundant loungers, good service, and swimmable liquid. The few negative evaluations I’d read about this resort had to do with the amount of seaweed on the beach. Considering seaweed is a natural instance and a resort can’t magically stop saying that from laundering up, I took this with a grain of salt. The faculty runs constantly to clean up the seaweed as it slams the sand, and I had zero issues swimming. Yes, there was seaweed in the liquid at times, but it didn’t hider our experience one bit.
We never had an issue with finding beach loungers , no matter what time of day we showed up to the beach. Loved not having to fight or reserve a chair.
One thing to note is that all beaches in Punta Cana are public, intending there are vendors that will walk around selling trinkets, or offering word-paintings with a monkey or parrot. They were harmless, and a simple” no thank you” was plenty to keep them moving. If you encounter any aggressive behavior, you can tell the resort staff who will help.
A Note about the VIP Cabanas
Prior to our journey, I read in an online examine there were VIP Cabanas available for rent. It was an additional $ 60 for the day, but it was a special area just for your use for the day, with a special concierge, cabana, loungers, and beach access. I was concerned before departing about not being able to get a good beach spot( which I later learned wasn’t something I needed to worry about ), we are therefore booked 1 day of the cabana in advance via our travel agent, Carey. “Theres only” 2 of these on the resort, so they can book up fast.
Cabana area- chilled sparkling wine waiting, storage area, 2 loungers in addition to the bunked, adjustable sunshade, and lovely direct sentiment of the beach
View from the cabana to the water
We had a bit of a mix up as we received a call from the front table concierge that our cabana was waiting. We’d actually booked it for the following day, but something got messed up with the planning. No big deal since we didn’t have any other projects but to hang out!
We stayed in the cabana all day, and enjoyed every minute of it. It was nice to feel like even more of a VIP than we already felt( because seriously, this whole vacation was living large-scale ). Steve get up and started marching towards the grill by the beach to see what our lunch options were, and the staff stopped him and told him to let them take care of it- they brought us lunch to the cabana! If you love the beach and want to have a grand time, we highly recommend booking this for at least one day.
Steve doubled fisting with his Coco Loco and El Presidente in the cabana
Is Excellence Club Worth It?
I mentioned earlier in the room description that we booked a non Excellence Club( EC) chamber. Excellence Club is a different class of chambers that you can book at a higher price that give you access to a private EC lounge, private restaurant( Magna ), upgraded in-room alcohol, a hydrotherapy session at the spa, and a different beach area. When we booked, all the chambers we wanted in EC were already sold out. I was concerned if we didn’t do all of these upgrades that we wouldn’t have the total experience. It’d been 3 years since I was on a vacation, so I wanted to go large-hearted or go home!
Due to the mix up with the cabana booking, we were liberally offered some make-goods. We were offered dinner at Magna restaurant, and complimentary hydrotherapy- 2 EC perks. After suffering both, I’m going to tell you why I think that it’s entirely penalty and still an awesome suffer to go at non-EC level as we did.
Magna: Our dinner was honestly underwhelming, and so was the services offered. Again, service inconsistencies are bound to happen at a large resort like this, and food is subjective. But, since Magna was so hyped up by people in EC, I expected a lot more. With at the least 9 other eateries on the property, I didn’t check what the fuss was about. Same with the EC lounge- it’s in the area before you enter Magna, and it seemed quiet. While there was a dedicated bar and some light bites, we never had to wait at any of the bars, and there were frequently different director receptions taking place around the resort if you wanted to grab a bite and socialize.
Hydrotherapy: I’d read a lot about the hydrotherapy at the spa, and was convinced I didn’t want to do this. They take you through a set of activities with a few other couples likewise having the therapy. I may not be remembering the exact sequence, but it’s time in a sauna, be accompanied by a literal frost pail you pour over your manager, walking on rocks, sitting in a large pool where you go through various terminals of hydro massage on your back and shoulders, and then a hot tub, followed by a brief massage. For as unappealing as it voices, this girlfriend who really isn’t large-scale into massage or anything genuinely enjoyed the experience. It’s a lot of laughing and “what’s happening?!?!” but by the end, you’re both loosened and freshened. Is this a nice EC perk? Yep! BUT this is also a service you can buy as a non EC member. So while it’s great, it alone isn’t the reason to upgrade to an EC room.
Upgraded bottles in room: We weren’t that concerned with having upgraded bottles as most of our booze was done at the restaurants sector, beaches, or bars, or served to us when we were applying our private pool. There is no shortage of booze at this resort to say the least, so having upgraded in-room bottles would have likely been squandered. This is saying something as I can really get down with the alcohol on vacation!
Separate beach area: The EC beach area is a little more spread out than the regular beach area. There are also different loungers than the regular beach area. But, we had no issues ever observing a lounger, tint, or service in the regular beach area. We also never felt mobbed or cramped- and I Enjoy my personal space so I don’t say that lightly. Expend the $60 for the working day on the cabana gave us even more privacy, so again, travelling non-EC wasn’t a obstruction to our experience.
All of this to say that if you can’t do EC for any reason, don’t let it stop you from moving! Even the lowest room class at a resort of this caliber is going to be marvelous. Whether the government has the extra cost is worth it is up to each person, but we didn’t feel we had any less of an experience without it.
Tips for traveling to Excellence El Carmen
Take a yeti or similar bowl. The bars will fill these for you, and your booze will stay cold for much, long long! Consider a float. The main pond does have some swims available, but it was easy for us to pack a collapsible float to use in our private pool. When we left, we gave it to the people who had just arrived in the next chamber over. If you don’t bring one, you are able to likely detect extras left open from people who didn’t take them home. You can always ask the staff as well and they’ll try to find you one! Head to the X Lounge after dinner one nighttime to take in the ocean ripples and sky opinion from above and have good drinkings. Try the hydrotherapy at the spa. As mentioned, this was something I genuinely wasn’t going to do, but am so glad I did! If you don’t want to do the hydrotherapy, I do recommend looking at spa therapies if that’s your thing. They have daily specials, and the ambiance, staff, and service were top notch.Consider perquisites. Tips-off are by no means expected, and we didn’t notice any difference in service whether the government has you tip-off. But, we realized the service and tip-off regularly. There’s housekeeping( 2x a period ), mini bar, wait faculty, spa personnel, bell sons, etc. The staff really works very hard to keep everyone happy, and in the grand strategy of the journey, adding gratuity doesn’t add up to much but can probably make a big difference to those who are establishing your vacay daydreams come true.Consider a travelling agent. Carey was an excellent asset to help us select a resort and talk us through all the room options and pricing so we could make an informed decision. It didn’t cost us any more, and was a lot less stress for me. And while on our trip-up when we had the cabana planning mix up, I shot her an email as an FYI and she immediately got the concierge to follow up with us, apologize, and offer us the make-goods. This was above and beyond what I’d expect from her, but it was much appreciated.It’s been said earlier, but consider the VIP Cabana for a day.If you adoration coconut, try the coco loco! Merely remember that coconut is a laxative, so tempo yourself!( I was glad someone reminded me of this in advance of going on a coco loco binge !) If trip from the US, download and use the Mobile Passport app before re-entering the US. We skipped the entire cable one we landed in the US by using the dedicated Mobile Passport line. This is available for use at 25 airfields, so check the website to see if your port of entry uses it. Thanks, Carey for this tip!
A tone for travelers of size:
Seeing as I’m a plus sizing blogger and have written about travel difficulties before, I didn’t want to omit this in case it might help others. Being both large and tall, one of the things I soon noticed at this resort is that the chairs at this resort in the bar areas and restaurants are extremely low to the ground and small-minded. They look nice and modern, but aren’t practical if you are large or maybe if you have mobility issues due to your knees or something. It wasn’t a huge problem, but it was always a little uncomfortable. I never asked if there were more accessible seating alternatives( without limbs, or higher off the ground ), but if this is something that worry about me, you may want to ask. That being said, we would go back to this resort in a heartbeat, so for us, it wasn’t a bargain breaker.
I hope this review was helpful. Do you have questions about this resort? Let me know in the comments- happy to share my opinion.
Honeymoon Review: Excellence El Carmen originally appeared on Authentically Emmie on January 25, 2019. If you are reading this on a different website or a different feed than Authentically Emmie, it has been taken without permission.
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