Ultimate Review of Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic (For 2024)

Review of Excellence El Carmen in Dominican Republic

Just imagine palm trees swaying in the wind, a cold mojito, and a gorgeous beach. You can have all this and more at Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic. I just spent a glorious week relaxing at Excellence El Carmen, enjoying their fresh cocktails and stunning grounds. I have written an ultimate review of Excellence El Carmen to share with you to see if this resort is the right fit for you! So keep scrolling for the ultimate review of Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic for 2024.

At Pragmatic Travelers, we only recommend what we have eaten and experienced. So you know these recommendations are based on experience, not a round-up of internet research. 

This post might have affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking, we may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. As always, I only recommend what I have actually experienced, so you know these recommendations are based on honesty rather than a round up of internet research.

General Information on Excellence El Carmen

Excellence El Carmen is an adults-only all-inclusive in the Uvero Alto region of the Dominican Republic. There are over 400 luxurious rooms on the property. Rooms range from basic Jr. Suites to multistory rooms with private pools. There are 9 bars and 11 restaurants. You can elect to pay extra for the Excellence Club which is a VIP service. You can also enjoy time at the spa, swim in 23 different pools, or lounge on a wide beach. There is plenty to do with a daily entertainment schedule, free water sports, tennis, and pickleball. This modern resort has plenty of space to both party and relax. So keep reading for our ultimate review of Excellence El Carmen.

How to get to Excellence El Carmen?

Your best option is to fly to Punta Cana. The airport is about 45 minutes away from the resort. If you are not taking advantage of the complimentary transfer, I would suggest booking another company in advance. Saves the chaos of having to haggle and find a taxi at the airport.

Pro Tip: You will need to fill out an entry/exit ticket for the Dominican Republic. This is free and can be done online. Make sure you fill out your e-visa before you arrive in the Dominican. It is simple to fill out. Here is the link to the e-visa site.

Review of Excellence El Carmen for 2024
Beach and Pool at Excellence El Carmen

Transportation to Excellence El Carmen

There is nothing better than starting a relaxing beach holiday with ease. Private transportation is provided (included in your price) through Seasons if you stay 3 nights or more. Make sure you arrange this before you land at the airport. Once you have your bags, leave the airport and look for the Seasons desk. It can be a bit hard to find due to the small signage on the screen. Just look closely. It is a bit chaotic when you enter this area with MANY people shouting for your attention. Just ignore them and look for your counter. Check-in is quick and easy. The person at the desk will walk you over to the car attendant who will then hand you off to your driver. The car is a large and luxurious SUV. This was incredibly easy and quick.

Pro Tip: Well, really learn from my mistake. A gentleman came up to us while we were waiting for the car. We all thought he was a part of Seasons/Excellence and were offering us free beer. He was not and we got hustled. Lesson learned!


The service was excellent! Haha, hysterical. But in all seriousness, the service at El Carmen was outstanding. The employees couldn’t be more kind, friendly and accommodating. They truly make the trip just so special from bartenders remembering your favorite drinks to waiters surprising you with special items. I loved whenever they welcomed us with a, “my family.” I really can’t say enough about how well we were treated.

Pro Tip: Don’t be gross and make sure to tip! Bring US dollars (singles) and leave a tip for your drinks, housekeeping, waiters, etc.


As you first walk into El Carmen with a glass of champagne, you will feel totally at ease. The lobby is large, modern, and beautiful. It smells so freaking good! It just invites you into the property. From the lobby, there is a grand staircase that faces floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the grounds with the ocean in the back. It is a beautiful space.

Review of Excellence EL Carmen
The beach at Excellence El Carmen.


Check-in was a breeze. A bellhop took our bags and gave us a glass of champagne. We waited a few minutes to check in, then the rest was quick and easy. We were being escorted to our room in under 15 minutes. Simple!

Pro Tip: Do the online check-in before arrival on the Excellence app. Super easy!


I am so sad that I am not at El Carmen walking around with a coffee and enjoying the amazing property. The grounds are breathtaking. It is perfectly manicured with swaying palm trees, tropical plants, and flowers. There is even a small lake where a small family of ducks live. The attractive white buildings only enhance how beautiful the grounds are. The main building is filled with restaurants/bars and is modern, inviting, and well-designed. You are never far from a bar which is so convenient. It is just a joy to walk around the grounds. I spent each morning enjoying the sunshine and just the sheer beauty of this property. Oh, and everything is so clean! I mean immaculate.

One thing I loved about this property was how you could find quiet spaces to sit and relax. I loved the two small pools by the Aire bar. It was tropical, lush and so quiet. We spent many hours sitting by the bar or by the pools enjoying our books.

Review of Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic for 2024
The amazing grounds and quiet spots at Excellence El Carmen.

Room-Jr. Suite Pool View

I was thrilled with our room in building 2. The room number was 2107. It is a massive space with stylish/minimalist furnishings. It is light and breezy with marble floors, large windows, and a glass-encased whirlpool. Each room has a minibar, large bottles of alcohol, and a Nespresso machine. The bed is large and very comfortable. Again, the bathroom is massive with substantial counter space, a large rainfall shower, and a separate toilet. The main seating area was fine but a bit dated and showing some wear and tear. We didn’t use this area. The TV was a bit far from the bed but not an issue for us as we didn’t use it. The desk area was spacious and ideal for some minimal work that we had to do. The real winner of the room was the balcony. It had a wonderful view of the pool below and included an ocean view! I was beyond excited. We spent a fair amount of time sitting on the lounger with drinks and cigars.

The room was perfectly clean and sand was always swept up during the evening turn-down service. The minibar was restocked each night with sweet treats and water. It was close to all of the restaurants but a bit further from the beach. Being at the end of the property, meant the noise from nightlife didn’t disrupt us when we were sleeping. Aside from some of the wear and tear, I loved this room. I didn’t miss spending more money on an upgraded room.

Note: I liked this room so much more than Excellence Oyster Bay. That room was just damp all the time. This room was so much more comfortable that I actually enjoyed spending time there.

The amazing view from my room. The picture at the top of the page is another view.


Ahhh, this beach is beautiful! It is a long and relatively wide beach which is broken into three sections. The loungers by Las Olas (beach bar) are for anyone on the property. At either end of the property, are private beach sections just for Excellence Club members. As I said, the beach is beautiful. It has tall swaying palm trees with amazing views of the water. It was excellent for people-watching! The beach attendants came by often so never needed to leave to find a drink. There was plenty of shade provided by gorgeous palapas. This beach was gorgeous and I loved my time there.

HOWEVER, there are some drawbacks to this beach. Since the resort is in the Uvero Alto region the water can be very VERY rough. I am not a strong swimmer so I didn’t even try. It was incredibly windy. We would sit out until mid-afternoon and would leave because the wind was too much.

Review of Excellence El Carmen
The gorgeous beach at Excellence El Carmen.


This beach does have vendors come through and try to sell you local products. They are wearing tan shirts. They usually try to get your attention on a product but with a quick, “No, Gracias” they continue on their way. I found them very polite and respectful. If you are looking for cigars, the vendors offer a more affordable option than the resort. Finally, don’t be gross. They are working and don’t deserve any disrespect.


There. are. so. many. pools. There are 23 pools on the property with 9 hot tubs. 23 pools! There is a large main heated pool that circles two restaurants (Lobster House and Oregano). In front of the main pool is a small lap pool. The main pool area is quite beautiful with many loungers and palapas for shade. Along with the two restaurants, there is a swim-up bar and two more bars behind it (X-Lounge and Revive). Las Olas which is a bar and buffet is nearby, on the beach. So another area where you don’t have to leave to find drinks and food. We didn’t spend much time at the main pool as this is where most of the entertainment is based. I much prefer a quiet spot to read.

There are narrow pools in front of each building with plenty of loungers. There are two small pools near the Aire bar. There are pools everywhere. You will have no problem finding a lounger to bask in the Dominican sun, to watch the entertainment, or to sit quietly and read. This was my favorite part of this resort: how you can find quiet spots with a pool to rest.

Review of Excellence El Carmen
The beach and main pool area at Excellence El Carmen.


As I have mentioned, there are plenty of loungers to relax on. You can find them in more high-energy areas and quiet areas. We went during a busy week (multiple weddings, Valentine’s Day, and the Super Bowl) and we had no problem. So really no need to stress about finding loungers. A few mornings, we threw some towels down to save our loungers. This was only because I liked a particular spot between two palm trees.

Bars/Drinks at Excellence El Carmen

Ahhh, yes the topic I was waiting for! The cocktails at El Carmen were stupid good. I was so disappointed by the cocktails at Excellence Oyster Bay because they didn’t use fresh ingredients. El Carmen was the total opposite! There was plenty of fresh fruit and mint for great cocktails! I LOVED all of the mojitos, mango margaritas, and sparkling wine options. The only critique I have is their more “high-end” cocktails like Manhattans are not very good. They use cheaper ingredients so just never tasted that good BUT the tropical fresh fruit ones more than made up for it. Here is a breakdown of the bars we enjoyed:

  • Aire: This was our favorite bar as it was set by those quiet pools. The bartender was great and made excellent mango margaritas!
  • X-Lounge: Had the best views but wasn’t open often. It was being used for weddings nearly all week.
  • Martini: I wasn’t too impressed with this bar. The cocktails were just fine and lacked fresh ingredients. I would go to the Art Deco bar instead. It is a shame because that bar area is beautiful!
  • Cielo: I went to this bar often to grab a drink as it was close to where we sat on the beach. Excellent mojitos! Didn’t always have some ingredients like tamarind or watermelon.
  • Las Olas: This was the spot for fresh watermelon mojitos and coconuts! Excellent cocktails!
  • Revive: Great cocktails and service while waiting for the restaurants nearby. They would often come up with a drink on the fly for you!
  • Art Deco Piano Bar: This bar had much better “high-end” cocktails like martinis and Manhattans. It was always pretty quiet. There was a great outdoor seating area that I don’t think many people knew about.

Pro Tip: The wine options that were included are just ok. I found the champagne and rose champagne to be fantastic at dinner.

Review of Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic
The amazing grounds of Excellence El Carmen

Restaurants at Excellence El Carmen

Excellence El Carmen is an all-inclusive so the food will not be the greatest thing you will ever eat. With that said, the food was good! At times very good and other times just meh. I enjoyed nearly all of our meals and if I wasn’t crazy about one dish then I tried another. The potions are small but I love that! It means we can try more food. I was happy with our food and can happily recommend this resort based on their food alone. The only restaurant you make reservations for is the hibachi tables at Spice. So if you go during a popular dining hour like 7/8 you might have to wait. They have an outdoor seating area near all of the restaurants with drink attendants. We waited a few times. We just grabbed a few drinks and read. No biggie at all.

Here is a breakdown of the restaurants and what we enjoyed.

  • The Kitchen Table: Hands down, my favorite meal of the trip was the breakfast buffet. It is so bloody good. They have everything. Want some freshly cooked eggs, they got it! How about some fresh crepes, pancakes, or waffles? They got it. It was the absolute best. I loved all of the fresh fruit. I would eat a plate of papaya for breakfast dessert each morning. Man, do I miss that breakfast.
  • Lobster House: This is the one we were most excited about as we loved it at Oyster Bay. The food was good but the lobster was inconsistent. One night it was great the next just fine. The lunch, however, was surprisingly good. Oh, and the crab cakes were yummy! This restaurant is open-air and has gorgeous views of the beach and pool.
  • Oregano: This was our least favorite restaurant. I am super picky with my pasta and it was just mediocre. The pizza was fine but the sauce was a bit sweet for me. Another restaurant with gorgeous views.
  • Agave: I loved Agave! The atmosphere is great and it is an open-air restaurant. The food was excellent. In particular, the shrimp aquachile, the soup, and the fajitas! The service was also very good. The only thing I was missing was some really authentic Mexican/Dominican drinks. It would be nice if they had specialized drinks at these restaurants. Also, I am not sure why they didn’t feature more Dominican food? Just a thought.
  • Spice: Spice disappointed me at El Carmen. I loved the sushi at Oyster Bay but this time the rolls were just mediocre. The sashimi, however, was very good.
  • Chez Isabelle: The French restaurant in El Carmen was bloody fantastic. The restaurant is beautiful inside and has a few outdoor options. I loved the goat cheese candies, rib eye, and scallops. We went multiple times because we enjoyed the food so much.
  • The Grill: We only ate lunch at The Grill. It was pretty good! I enjoyed the Cobb Salad and crab cakes. The burger was great as well!
  • Sports Bar: This sports bar was so much better than Oyster Bay. The ambiance was engaging, there are pool tables, good drinks, and even better mozzarella sticks. I was so surprised with how good they were! Like just plain good. Not just good for an all-inclusive.
  • Basmati: This one surprised me. The decorations were beautiful and the food was so stinking good! I couldn’t believe it. The onion bhaji was perfect. I loved this meal and wish I had eaten there more. It was 100% the best restaurant in El Carmen. You can’t convince me otherwise.
  • Dominican Night: Once a week they host a Dominican night where they have live music, dancing, and a large buffet. The buffet had a wide range of food. There was this pork dish. MY GOD. That pork was delicious!! Make sure to stop by and try out some Dominican food.
  • Food Trucks: They were not good…at all. Skip entirely!
Review of Excellence El Carmen
Tasty Breakfast at The Kitchen Table


Like all Excellence properties, Aroma was the coffee hub for the resort. The coffee is very good. But isn’t like all of the artisan coffee houses we have come to know and love. You will need to spend some time playing around with your order, to figure out what the best option is for you. I settled on iced Americanos and my husband got espressos. We found the milky coffee drinks like lattes were not very good. The service was great and quick. We would grab a coffee in the morning then walk around the beautiful property.

Medical Services

Unfortunately, we did have to use the medical services at Excellence. They have a 24-hour doctor on the property. Just show up at their door and wait for them to see you. It is expensive so I highly recommend travel insurance. Even though it was a major bummer, the doctor was super friendly and helpful!

Review of Excellence El Carmen
Look at this beach!


At resorts, we are sit by the beach and read people. So I don’t always participate in entertainment. However, one event that we kept attending was the cooking demonstrations. We did one with ceviche and mojitos. That was excellent. You get so much food to enjoy. The second one was for Coco Locos and Asopao which is a Dominican soup. That soup was one of the best things we ate at the resort. It was super hearty filled with meat and yucca and rice. I really can’t explain it well. It was delicious!

Shout out to the entertainment team for what they did for the Super Bowl. They had giant banners, blow-up obstacle courses, all kinds of decorations, a crazy amount of food, etc. It was truly unbelievable all they did to make that event special. I was so impressed!

Review of Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic
Super Bowl Party at Excellence El Carmen


Excellence EL Carmen is not cheap but is also not the most expensive all-inclusive in Punta Cana. For a price of over 550 a night, I thought the price fit what you are getting. (We even got a deal and it was 150 dollars cheaper a night.) I am happy to pay that price per night since I am getting such great quality through the grounds, service, drinks, and food.

Tips and Tricks

  • Bring singles to tip your servers. That includes baristas, bellhops, etc. They are providing such a great service that you shouldn’t skip out.
  • Bring an insulated cup. This will keep your drinks nice and cold in that warm Dominican sun.
  • Download the app before you go, so you can check out dress codes and entertainment schedules beforehand.
  • Save your money on cigars and buy from the vendors. They are cheaper than the resort and have much better quality.
  • Bring a beach bag. Not all of the rooms will provide one for you to use.
  • Set up your transportation before you land in Punta Cana.
  • If you enjoy ducks (like us), grab a fruit cup from Aroma. Very sweet to watch them eat.
  • Order more food if the portion sizes are too small for you. Not sure why people complain about this.
  • Not sure the Excellence Club is worth it. With only one restaurant and no private pool, it doesn’t seem like it is worth the price.
Review of Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic
I can’t get over how beautiful this beach is..



  • The property and grounds are just spectacular. Truly a joy to walk around.
  • The COCKTAILS. So many delicious mojitos!
  • Ease of private transportation to/from the resort.
  • Basmati and the Kitchen Table were excellent.
  • The service, of course!
  • The baloney of our room was just wonderful.


  • Food was inconsistent.
  • The beach was so windy and the water pretty rough.
  • Room showing its age.

Important Websites/Information

Final Thoughts

I loved my time at Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic. It was worth every penny to have a week at that beautiful property! My only disappointment was how windy the beach was as I like to sit there all day and not move but the wind made it a bit difficult. While I haven’t visited every resort in Punta Cana, I can bet that this is one of the best! I would happily return!

Your Thoughts

This is the ultimate review of Excellence EL Carmen in the Dominican Republic for 2024. Have you been before? What did you love about the resort? Are you heading there soon? Leave a comment below!

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