Travel Diary Part 1 – Excellence El Carmen, Dominican Republic

I’m writing this with the dreaded holiday blues looming over me! I’ve recently just returned from my wonderful adventure to the Dominican Republic, which is a Caribbean island and it was an absolute dream!

I stayed in the Excellence El Carmen, which is a 5-star, adults-only hotel. It is approximately 40-minutes from Punta Cana International Airport and is still within the main tourist resort of Punta Cana. Punta Cana is in the most Eastern point of the Dominican Republic and is also bordering Bávaro.

“Both Punta Cana and Bávaro are known as the Coconut Coast, which is lined with all-inclusive resorts.”

Blue Bay Travel - Dominican Republic, Caribbean

The Driveway to Heaven A.K.A Excellence El Carmen

When our minibus arrived at these big, majestic-looking gateswe knew that heaven awaited inside. The driveway to get to the hotel seemed to take forever! Me and my boyfriend just looked at each other with the facial expression as to say “Where are we even going?!. We then pulled up outside of this massive building to be greeted by the bellboy and the concierge. They offered us the best champagne I’ve ever tasted and cold facial towels for us too cool down (us Brits can’t tolerate humidity and 30 degree heat!)

We walked into the reception area where the marble floors were so shiny that it looked like an illusion of a swimming pool when you walked in. To say we were speechless on how beautiful the interior was, is a complete understatement. The concierge checked us in immediately and then debriefed us on what facilities and amenities were available to us during our stay. The bellboy then approached us with a ticket and told us to go and wait in our room.

Room 1214

We pressed the lift to go to the second floor where we would find Room 1214, and I don’t think we were prepared to see what was inside. When Tom scanned our key and opened the door, our reaction was “HOW?!“, as in how did we even get so lucky to stay in such a beautiful place!

We walked into rose petals scattered on the bed. Our eyes immediately turned to the floor to ceiling windows and the sliding doors to our balcony. It had not one, but two massive sun beds, a dining area and a plunge pool! We were so lucky when booking with Blue Bay Travel, as we got a free upgrade to a Terrace Suite with Plunge Pool! I would highly recommend booking with them if you plan to holiday in the Caribbean or other exotic destinations – their customer service is exceptional!

We then checked out the interior and thought we couldn’t be wowed enough! There were two big TVs mounted to the wall and a massive sofa area. Following that, we saw the in-room jacuzzi and we were in love! It had large glass panels surrounding the jacuzzi, so that you could overlook the resort, and watch the ocean from the safety of your own private hideaway.

The bathroom was like my dream bathroom! It had a Jack and Jill style, so that means me and Tom had a sink each (no fighting over me putting my makeup everywhere)! We even had our own toilets, so the only thing we had to share was the rainfall showerI can compromise with that.

“We genuinely thought we were given the wrong room, as the hallway outside of our room was lined with doors saying ‘honeymoon’ or ‘anniversary’ – we weren’t celebrating either!” 

The room was absolutely incredible, everything luxury was down to tiny details! There was a fully stocked minibar with Coca-Cola, Fanta, Oreos, etc., which got restocked regularly. There was even a shelf with vodka, whisky and rum! All of this was complimentary and we were free to have it all!

The craziest thing is that they had something called the X-Box, where you placed all of your plates, cups, cutlery, etc. after you’ve finished eating your room service food. Then, later in the day someone unlocks the box from outside of the room and takes away everything!

How Many Restaurants?!

So… we didn’t really believe this when we were booking this hotel, but there are 12 restaurants in this hotel…yes 12! You heard it right! Excellence El Carmen still doesn’t disappoint. If you’re a fussy eater, you won’t need to worry here! There’s a cuisine that suits everyone here, from Italian to Mexican food.

“The most special thing about this hotel is that there is a dress code for each restaurant. It adds to the luxury of staying at the resort.”

If you’re looking for a relaxed lunch, I’d recommend The Lobster House. It’s a great casual place after a long, hard day of basking in the 30 degree heat on the sun loungers. I’d try the Crab Rolls with Sweet & Sour Sauce and their mouthwatering Grilled Flank Steak Sandwich! There’s also something about their Iced Tea that tastes so much better than in the UK.

If you’re looking for a classy, romantic evening meal with your other half, I’d highly suggest Chez Isabelle. It’s a beautiful, Parisian themed restaurant. Once you enter the place you genuinely feel like you’ve just been flown to Paris for the evening. They even have a wine cellar, which you can take a look at before you order your wines.

Want a night of entertainment? Call up Spice to reserve your table at their Japanese Teppanyaki Show-Cooking! You’d be missing out if you didn’t go, as the chef is brilliant and know’s how to get everyone involved in the experience! Just watch out, as he likes to throw things at you to test your reaction time!

Don’t Want To Leave Your Room? No Problem!

We all know how expensive room service can be. However, being on an all-inclusive resort means that you can order as much as you desire! We had breakfast in bed or on the balcony every single day, and if you follow my Insta you would have seen it all! They always say they’ll take about 35-minutes, but we got ours within 20-25 minutes!

We Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside!

The white, sandy beach of Excellence El Carmen was something that you could only dream of! Palm trees lined the stretch of beach. Only 3 days before our trip, this part of the Dominican was hit by Hurricane Maria and we wouldn’t have even realised! The hotel staff have done a fantastic job of clearing away all of the debris.

Blue Bay Travel - Excellence El Carmen, Dominican Republic, Caribbean

Certain non-motorised watersports are included in your hotel package, and I’m a big lover of kayaking when I get the chance! It’s worth asking at the watersport shack what they can offer, as they’re very friendly.

You were never too far from a drink, as the wonderful beach bar staff would do rounds. This is a great opportunity to get your piña coladas and coconut water for Insta!

Magic Up A Storm

The Excellence El Carmen provides great evening entertainment every night. It’s a good idea to check the ‘Excellence Times‘ every night before bed, as it provides you with the following evening’s entertainment.

Our first night at the El Carmen, was the White Party, which was great fun! The food was a mixture of canapés, barbecue and buffet-style food. The magic show and the circus show are both definitely worth turning up for!

Evening Turndown

As mentioned before, the ‘Excellence Times‘ will be your best friend on this visit. The evening maid service comes around whenever you’re out for dinner to prepare your room for bedtime. They leave a copy of the ‘Excellence Times’ next to your bedside, which features the evening entertainment; the offers available at the Miilé Spa; what special services the hotel can offer e.g. flower service; the excursions and the opening and closing times of restaurants and bars. Even the current temperature is stated for your own information!

Blue Bay Travel - Excellence El Carmen, Dominican Republic, Caribbean

Drift Off Into A Deep Sleep

“It was the. best. experience. ever! I’d highly recommend the Miilé Spa.”

Blue Bay Travel - Excellence El Carmen, Dominican Republic, Caribbean

The Excellence chain are known for their luxurious Miilé Spa. Me and Tom couldn’t help ourselves and booked an appointment for a Couple’s 80-Minute Stress Cure Massage. They led us to a room with beds that swung side to side. You genuinely felt hypnotised into a deep sleep. I believe that normally there is a hydrotherapy circuit that is complimentary before your treatment. However, I think it was closed for some reason when we were there. I would definitely make use of the coupons left with your Evening Turndown.

Blue Bay Travel - Excellence El Carmen, Dominican Republic, Caribbean

Just some quick tips if you’re thinking about staying at this hotel:

  • Check out the Excellence website for the dress codes for different restaurants to ensure you pack the correct clothes.
  • Order more US Dollars over Dominican Pesos – most things are priced in US Dollars!
  • If you choose to book excursions with the front desk in the shopping gallery area, do your research to see if they can price-match deals you found with other companies!
  • Pay attention to opening and closing hours of certain restaurants and bars on the ‘Excellence Times’.
  • Check out the menus of different restaurants by going onto the Excellence website and clicking on the dining page for Excellence El Carmen or use their TV.
  • Order yourself a fresh coconut water with the beach bar staff to rehydrate!
  • I’d highly recommend to go to their evening entertainment shows
  • If you plan to use the jacuzzi, pack some bubble bath solutions or bath salts.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my stay at Excellence El Carmen. There will be other parts to my travel diary coming soon! Thank you to Blue Bay Travel for making it the most effortless booking and from making the journey so enjoyable from start to finish! If you’re interested in booking the Excellence El Carmen with Blue Bay Travel, click here.

If you can’t wait to read more travel-related posts, you can check out my previous posts on my adventures here in the mean time!

Love,

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You can contact me on confessionsofononlineshopaholic@gmail.com for any business/personal enquiries!

(DISCLAIMER: I worked with Blue Bay Travel to write a guest post on their website, but the holiday was paid entirely by me and Tom. I am not affiliated with either of Blue Bay Travel or Excellence El Carmen.)

6 Comments

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  • Reply alwaysopinionatedgirl October 26, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    This sounds absolutely amazing! I’m so jealous! I love hearing all about other people’s amazing holidays!!

  • Reply Sophie October 26, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I’ve never been to this part of the world. I’m more of a city breaker kinda girl but wow this looks like paradise!

    • Reply confessionsofonlineshopaholic@gmail.com October 26, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Me too, I’ve never been anywhere tropical until I went to the Dominican! Ahh it really was, I need to go on more city breaks in the future! Thank you for commenting 😊

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