What’s better than excellent?
You want your destination wedding and honeymoon to be perfect—and when a resort calls itself excellent, it had better deliver!
The Excellence Resorts brand is family-owned and operated and its first resort Excellence Punta Cana opened in 2000.
Our Excellence vs. Sandals review and comparison will help you choose the best adults-only all-inclusive resort for your destination wedding and honeymoon.
So what’s the quickest and easiest way to do that?
Excellence Resorts vs Sandals Review—Location of Resorts
We find that our wedding couples may have a specific island or region in the Caribbean in mind or have their hearts set on particular amenities and venues for their destination wedding.
Excellence vs. Sandals—What’s the Difference?
Location is the biggest difference between Excellence and Sandals Resorts, so let’s break it down.
There are currently five Excellence Resorts:
- one in Falmouth, Jamaica
- two in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- and two in Cancun, Mexico.
There are currently 17 Sandals Luxury Included Resorts:
- Seven Sandals in Jamaica, including the brand-new and highly anticipated Sandals Dunn’s River in iconic Ocho Rios
- Sandals has three properties in Saint Lucia
- two Sandals in Barbados
- two Sandals in The Bahamas
- as well as Sandals Grenada, Sandals Grande Antigua, and Sandals Royal Curaçao.
Now here’s the even more fun part!
Choosing a destination wedding resort based on your dreams, needs, and budget.
Excellence vs. Sandals—9 Ways to Choose the Best Destination Wedding Location
We use these nine ways to help our couples determine their ideal destination wedding location.
So if the thought of choosing a tropical location seems a bit overwhelming, this should make it that much easier:
- Are you dreaming about a Margarita-themed wedding in Mexico? Take a look at the Excellence Resorts in Cancun.
- The Dominican Republic ranks second-best for affordable Caribbean wedding destinations, so if you’re minding your wedding budget, there are two Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana.
- Are you interested in championship golfing or scuba diving in Jamaica? Take a look at Sandals in Jamaica—and check out our Sandals Ochi review because Ochi can be the most affordable all-inclusive destination wedding resort in the Caribbean!
- Sandals in Barbados made our list of the Best Sandals Resorts for Foodies… and there’s even a bowling alley and a craft beer bar at Sandals Royal Barbados!
- Are you an active couple seeking a wedding and honeymoon adventure unlike anywhere else? Saint Lucia has lush rainforests, fascinating history, and gorgeous wildlife on land and underwater—and the most exciting way to see the magical Pitons is by booking a helicopter transfer from the airport!
- Antigua is a must for wedding couples who are beach lovers—there’s a beach on this island for every day of the year and the main roads are easy to navigate!
- Fragrant, laidback, with stunning natural beauty, Grenada is called the Spice Isle. It’s unexpected and an “off the beaten path” tropical location for a dream destination wedding.
- Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and you’ll be amazed by the arid beauty and spectacular ocean around this unique and modern Caribbean island with rainbow-colored buildings.
- Many couples prefer a Caribbean destination closer to home—Sandals Royal Bahamian and Sandals Emerald Bay offer the most convenient flights from major North American hubs.
Of course, costs are a big factor in your destination wedding decision.
We have tips to get the best deal on your destination wedding, no matter which resort you choose.
What Is the Cheapest Destination Wedding Resort?
We don’t like calling a resort like Sandals or Excellence “cheap,” but affordable luxury is a term we can get behind for your destination wedding!
So it was interesting to note that Excellence has started to offer a small range of wedding specials, as Sandals has done for years.
We compared the offers and specials between Excellence and Sandals thoroughly for you.
Most Affordable Caribbean Countries for Destination Weddings
Jamaica and the Dominican Republic both rate highly for an affordable destination wedding, but in all areas, Jamaica consistently ranks the highest.
As we previously mentioned, Sandals Ochi in Jamaica is not only considered an affordable destination wedding resort, Ochi has received a coveted award for the best destination wedding resort in the Caribbean and The Bahamas.
Modern chic and private exclusivity, meet in the heart of Jamaica in a resort that features the best of both worlds. On one side of paradise, discover the beachside Caribbean Riviera with a hot beach club.
There isn’t a Sandals resort in the DR, but there are two Excellence Resorts in Punta Cana, so we examined those properties and researched the Excellence website for wedding offers to help you save on a destination wedding in the DR.
Tips to Save on an Excellence Wedding in Punta Cana
The two Excellence properties in Punta Cana are located close to one another in the Uvero Alto area.
Although it’s not too easy to find on their website, Excellence offers a general Customize Your Wedding offer that’s available at their two resorts in Punta Cana.
This wedding offer has three “tiers,” and in order to qualify, you have to meet certain restrictions.
Excellence Tier One Wedding Offer
This appears to be the “standard” wedding package available at Excellence.
You must book between ten and 20 rooms at your destination wedding resort to qualify. When you do, you can choose two “complimentary benefits” from the following list:
- A cocktail reception (60 minutes long) featuring an open bar and “house” hors d’oeuvres
- Private beach dinner for the wedding couple
- Two bouquets (bride and attendant?) and two boutonnieres (groom and attendant?)
- Seven-night stay free for wedding couple (unsure if this means during your wedding or another trip)
- OR a Room upgrade for the wedding couple.
Again, you will get to choose TWO benefits from the Tier One list, not all of them apply.
Let’s look at the next tier.
Excellence Tier Two Wedding Offer
Okay, we get how this program works now! When you book 21 to 30 rooms for your destination wedding, you can choose an ADDITIONAL TWO BENEFITS from the following list:
- Reception dinner for 40 wedding guests (maximum length is two hours)
- A total of five centerpieces with natural flowers
- Live music by a trio for up to 45 minutes
- You can gift a one-room, four-night stay to your favorite guests
- OR a room upgrade for the wedding couple into an Excellence Club category suite.
So you can add TWO benefits from Tier Two, which works best if you’re having 40 guests at your destination wedding.
Tier Three is apparently the premium wedding package available at Excellence.
Excellence Tier Three Wedding Offer
If you’re having 60 guests and booking at least 31 rooms, you can select TWO ADDITIONAL benefits from the Tier Three wedding offer:
- Reception dinner for 60 wedding guests (maximum length is four hours)
- A welcome beach party (three hours or less)
- Qualify for a Gold Wedding Package
- OR a return stay certificate for five nights at the resort.
When we saw the “Gold” wedding package mentioned, we investigated further and located some pricing details on Excellence weddings.
Let’s talk about this!
Excellence Resorts Wedding Packages in Punta Cana
These details seem to apply to weddings at the two Excellence properties in Punta Cana, although the pricing might be similar at other Excellence resorts in Mexico or Jamaica.
For your wedding ceremony, your possible venues are the beach, a stone gazebo, or a “tropical gazebo.
For your post-ceremony cocktail reception at Excellence Punta Cana, you can choose Las Olas Terrace, Sol Bar Terrace, or the beach.
If you plan a wedding dinner and reception, your venue choices at Excellence Punta Cana are the beach, Las Olas, The Kitchen Table, or the Santa Domingo Ballroom.
Three Wedding Packages Are Available
Excellence Resorts offer an “Excellence Wedding Package,” an “Excellence of Love Wedding Package,” and a “Gold Excellence Wedding Package.”
Here are the details and prices for each package:
1. Excellence Wedding Package—starts at $850
If you book 30 rooms for your wedding guests or you book your wedding accommodations in an Executive Club room category for six nights or more, the Excellence Wedding Package is complimentary.
Details for this package are found under Excellence Punta Cana online.
2. Excellence of Love Wedding Package—starts at $1,500
This middle-of-the-line package includes everything in the base wedding package, plus a cocktail hour and private dinner reception for a limited number of hours.
Also, makeup and hairstyling are offered to one wedding party member. More details are found under the wedding packages tab on their website.
3. Gold Excellence Wedding Package—starts at $2,400
This top-tier wedding package includes a live music trio for a limited time, wedding videography, an upgraded reception dinner, and several other “luxury perks” that aren’t mentioned.
It does say that more information is available through a contact form online.
Wedding Specials and Offers Available at all Sandals Resorts
Since Sandals is your destination wedding specialist, they know how to present all the details for your customized wedding in paradise.
And it’s great to know that your Sandals wedding can be planned at the resort of your choice, and your personal wedding team and wedding website (with gift registry) are always included!
Free Tropical Wedding at Sandals
Sandals is probably most famous with wedding couples for their free tropical wedding when you book accommodations for the two of you for three nights or more.
Most couples love to personalize their wedding, and we have great tips to help you save on a dream destination wedding that suits your budget.
Tips to Save on Your Sandals Wedding
Getting married at Sandals is truly all about you. They’ve even broken down the kind of wedding you’re looking for with specific ways to save:
Are you excited to take off and get married in the Caribbean?
Your Sandals Elopement package includes a free wedding ceremony for stays of three nights or more and up to $1,500 in premium perks when you book your room for at least seven nights.
Destination Wedding Groups
You only need to book FIVE ROOMS or more to get special money-saving inclusions for your destination wedding!
Getting married at home before your Caribbean escape? Perfect!
When you’re planning your wedding, check Flexible Pricing to see the best available rate for all Sandals resorts by month.
The Sandals Loyalty Program features member benefits that begin before you’ve even booked your Sandals accommodation (click the accommodation link to see a really cool booking feature that allows you to filter your choices by location, activities, and special features).
Saving the Best for Last—Specials & Promotions at Sandals
We LOVE the Specials tab on the Sandals website!
You will find the best ways to save at Sandals, so check this out:
- Specials by Resort Location like instant credits, free nights, and up to 65% off rack rates
- Last Minute Travel Deals include a free night with a three-night booking (selected dates)
- Group Travel Rates include discounts for your destination wedding guests
- and the Sandals-exclusive 777 Offer on qualifying rooms and suites!
Special Wedding Offers
This Wedding Promotions link features special offers to save on your Sandals wedding and honeymoon!
Our absolute favorite wedding promotion at Sandals is actually more like a super-special pre-wedding getaway for the two of you.
When you’re getting a bit stressed out with wedding planning… imagine this:
Test Drive Your Wedding at Sandals
The Test Drive Your Wedding package at Sandals includes a stay for two for up to three nights at the Sandals resort you choose for your destination wedding.
Rates start at an amazing $275 per couple per night, and your Test Drive package includes:
- A chance to unwind and experience your wedding resort firsthand
- A chance to chat one-on-one with your Sandals wedding experts
- A review of venues, catering menus, cake options, and sample decor items.
You’ll even save just by choosing this package and booking a wedding group of five rooms or more—if you do, you’ll receive up to $1,125 in credits to make your Sandals destination wedding your own!