I am writing to attempt to put into words something that has so far, since our return, been nearly impossible to convey to all the people I have spoken with. My wife and I returned last week from our first visit to the Dominican Republic and our first stay at Secrets Excellence in Punta Cana.
To say that we both had the most wonderful time of our lives is such an understatement that it almost sounds trite. We found ourselves catching our breath and in wonderment every day when we were continually impressed by something new that we saw, something that the resort did or how we were treated. From the moment of arrival to a chilled champagne mimosa through walking into our room on our final night to an entryway lined with lighted candles and decorated with kissing swans made from towels, dusted with rose petals and a bucket containing chilled champagne, we found ourselves shaking our heads and repeatedly saying that this place is beyond our most hopeful expectations.
Touching down in Punta Cana to a charming and almost idyllic palm-roofed open-air airport set the stage for us that we were in store for something different and special. A comfortable air-conditioned bus ride took us an hour through mostly empty countryside where we found ourselves wondering what we were going to fine at the end of the trip. When we pulled up to the resort, my jaw dropped and we looked at each other, grinned, and squeezed one another in excited acknowledgement that we had made the right choice.
I could go on and on about the sheer beauty of the resort; about the cleanliness around every corner and how even the landscape and bushes catch your eye because of the care and attention that is put into shaping, raking and cleaning everything every single day. But, these are things that you can see in the pictures posted on the website. What I would like to convey more, is what we experienced every day; how we were treated and the flavor and atmosphere that pervades the resort.
Our trip was scheduled so that my wife and I could celebrate our honeymoon which we had put off when we married a year prior. I am sure that others who have written about this place have mentioned it, but to experience having the staff respond to a request or a "thank you" with the phrase "It’s a pleasure" is not only something that takes you by surprise the first time to hear it, but amazes you even more when you witness that indeed, they mean it. As staffs go, finding the right combination and instilling an attitude are probably one of the hardest things to get across to them. In this case, this is one of the most fun, friendly, and service oriented groups that I have ever come across. Within a couple of days we would find ourselves greeted like old friends with handshakes and smiles and special stops by where we were just to say hello and make sure everything was going well.
Our travel agent neglected to inform the resort that we were there on our honeymoon and when I brought it to the attention of the management that some of the things we had hoped for had not happened, they didn’t just respond, they made us feel as though we were the most important guests that were in the resort. We spoke directly to the General Manager, Emilio Huhn, who immediately involved the Rooms Division Manager, Marco Soria, and they bent over backwards to insure that we had a special and memorable time. My wife and I were each treated to a complimentary and wonderful massage on the day of our choice and then were blown away when a private dinner on the beach was arranged with our own private waiter and a meal that was prepared especially for us and rivaled anything found in a five star restaurant. It appeared that many of the staff members, from Isabel in Guest Services, to Lilianna the Wedding Services Coordinator, to staff in the restaurant that we ate in the next day all knew of our evening and came up to ask us how it was and smile.
Multiple times during our stay both Emilio and Marco would suddenly walk up and shake my hand like a friend would and ask how everything was going. This is the kind of personal caring that separates Excellence from any other resort both my wife or have ever been to.
Everyday there is something new going on. Whether it was playing water polo like a kid in the massive (but thankfully shallow) pool, swimming up to the bar to order a Coco Loco (made with fresh coconut juice and served in the same coconut), learning about and tasting Mamajauana (a.k.a. Dominican Viagra), dancing in the disco, watching the nightly shows, eating in every one of the seven fantastic restaurants, taking long walks on mostly deserted beaches, swimming, lounging, playing games under shaded cabana "beds", or participating in the many afternoon festivals and organized events where everybody wins something, we were constantly impressed with and enjoyed each and every one of them.
Having spent the week previous with our family in the Grand Cayman, going to a resort designed for adults (18 and over) was the perfect getaway for us as a couple. The mixture of guests ranged from early 20s through their 60s and was very evenly distributed across the spectrum. Everyone interacted with everyone and while groups of people seemed to find each other throughout the week, we found that as you saw the same faces over and over, you felt like you knew them all and the smiles and hellos flowed easily.
Before we left, we found ourselves exchanging names and e-mail addresses with a number of people and my wife and I already are making plans to return again. Our next trip will be for two weeks and we will definitely request either a walk-out poolside suite or a honeymoon suite which has its’ own private patio with an outdoor Jacuzzi spa and overlooks the ocean. When we were there, the resort was at 100% capacity and the reason is easy to understand. This place is a hidden jewel that we were fortunate enough to have stumbled upon.
If you have a desire to treat yourself and your significant other to a vacation that will leave you feeling refreshed and spoiled, leave you with the knowledge that you have found a truly magical place where just by your presence, you are valued and appreciated, Secrets Excellence is it. None of this would be possible without the direction values and expectations instilled from the management down. It is not just a surface show, you can feel that it is very real and truly their pleasure to see that all guests leave with the same feeling that we did. If you want to see the grounds or find out more information you can go to their website at secretsresorts.com. The website is a little confusing at first, but put your cursor over the pictures and you will see which one is the link to the Dominican Republic resort we were guests at.