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Excellent Hotel-but words of caution for Gluten Avoidance Policy
We had a garden view room with an upgrade to the ‘Club’ grade. I would suggest, as other reviewers have, that the resort is good enough not to make the ‘Club’ upgrade necessary.
Posted on April 4, 2013 (http://excellencepuntacana.org/
“Excellent Hotel, but words of caution”
Reviewed April 1, 2013 NEW
42 people found this review helpful
We are frequent visitors to the Caribbean and just back from our first visit to the Excellence and Dominican Republic, a two week stay. The Hotel is very good in almost all respects; the staff are welcoming and helpful, nothing is too much trouble and the resort is well maintained and very clean. We had a garden view room with an upgrade to the ‘Club’ grade. I would suggest, as other reviewers have, that the resort is good enough not to make the ‘Club’ upgrade necessary. The pools and gardens are fantastic and we also spent many hours walking the long open sandy beach. We must have walked 3~4 miles in one direction before getting to rocks that suggested we headed back to resort. Beach vendors exist but are not obtrusive.
Were it not for the food I would not hesitate to repeat our visit however I will not return and could not recommend this resort to anyone with any form of food allergy, mine being Gluten. The food fails on 3 counts:
1) The resort’s strategy for Gluten avoidance is not to give you food with Gluten in it. Instead you are given a card which you can give to dining staff (who didn’t always understand the message) which explains you can’t be given food containing Gluten. The resort are unable to provide alternate food such as Gluten free bread and do not seem to use corn flour as a substitute for wheat flour.
2) Wheat flour is in common usage in virtually all sauces as a thickening which means that a very high percentage of the buffets provided at morning and lunch are not available. The egg stationat breakfast and fresh grilled fish and meat at lunch are both great however after 14 nights, variety would be better.
3) The resort has a policy of not using a booking system for restaurants which, apart from occasional queuing, means that when you do find a restaurant such as ‘Spice’ or ‘Agave’ where things are a little better, it can be difficult to repeat the visit when the resort is busy ( however Spice were not aware that soy sauce contained Gluten and Agave thought corn did!) At the ‘Grill’ one night, a last resort, I ended up with dry grilled chicken and a cold jacket potato, not exactly gourmet! At ‘Toscana’, the most readily available restaurant, despite presenting the card advising of a Gluten allergy I was given a dish wrongly and was fortunate to spot the mistake before consumption. ‘Toscana’ front of house staff were generally very good and I suspect the kitchen was the issue.
My inadvertent consumption of Gluten caused me to have issues which really spoiled our second week.
I would have scored the Excellence a full 5 if it were not for the food issues. It would take very little to improve the allergy management at the resort, other comparable resorts in other areas of the Caribbean we have stayed at are perfectly capable, but I wonder if the Management at Excellence have the necessary expertise, or indeed the inclination, to ‘raise the game’. If not they should certainly remove the ‘Gluten free’ references in the sample menus on the Hotel web-site, they are miss-leading and difficult to justify.
If Management at the Excellence read this and do change their policy we would love to revisit.
Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple