Great Expectations

If you've got to escape, head straight for Excellence Punta Cana.

Seclusion by the sea sounds ideal. What could be better than the billowy white clouds against the bright blue sky, a freshening breeze, frolicking with a loved one in the surf, and a just delivered frozen piña colada to quench your thirst?… Hey, how did that frozen piña colada get here?

In the hyper-connected, globalized world of today, seclusion and leisure time feel like the two most valuable, unattainable assets around. True seclusion may be what attracted you to yachting in the first place. Finding that cove that no one else has discovered is what it's all about. But there's something to be said for service, too, especially when those providing the service know how to provide it, yet stay out of the way.

Excellence Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, is just such a place. The resort recently completed a major upgrade to the tune of $8 million, enhancing the décor of the accommodations, elevating in-room services, and adding a tempting new restaurant and a state-of-the-art fitness area.

While the rooms are delightful-four-poster beds, private balconies, whirlpool tubs, and satellite television-the beach is where you'll probably want to be spending a good chunk of your time. Stepping onto that raked shore(another perk: In true seclusion, you have to rake your own beach) lets you leave the careworn world behind for a layer cake of soft sand, seafoam, and sunny skies.

"The resort is nestled among regal palm trees on a 30-mile stretch of private white-sand beach and the azure Caribbean Sea," said Ignacio Fernandez, vice president of sales and marketing for Excellence Resorts. "Perfect for those looking for a secluded romantic getaway." With that much coastline, you may not see anyone all day long. Unless you want to.

And if you've had enough relaxing on the beach-total seclusion isn't for everyone, all the time-getting reintroduced to the society of others isn't so bad either, especially if your return is to Excellence Punta Cana. There are two huge swimming pools, replete with a swim-up bar, two jacuzzis, and attentive table service beneath shaded palapas. There's plenty to do at the resort, including the obvious watersports such as snorkeling, fishing, and scuba. There's also horseback riding, tennis, squash, and many other athletic pursuits. Try your hand at a cooking class or put your best foot forward at a dance lesson.

All that fun can make you hungry. Fortunately, Excellence Punta Cana has eight restaurants serving up cuisines to suit every taste. Dining options at the resort include French, fine Italian, Asian and Japanese, a pizzeria, a Mexican restaurant, a lobster house, a steak house, and a Mediterranean restaurant. Also, various bars, including a casino and a sports bar, a coffee bar, and that swim-up pool bar, will make certain you'll never get bored with the choices.

Done pushing your body to the limit with all that fun? It's time to recharge. The Miilé Spa at Excellence Punta Cana begins pampering you in its private relaxation garden. From there, you'll find the path to revitalization through a combination of hydrotherapy and indigenous treatments. Guests are cosseted in more than a dozen indoor treatment rooms-including five rooms equipped for couple's treatments. The spa also features a hot-water whirlpool, Swedish saunas, steam rooms, and a double outdoor treatment room with ocean views.

When you finally get back to your life, you'll be recharged and refreshed. And when you have a hard day, you can always think back to the fine, relaxing times you had at Excellence Punta Cana, and raise a glass to…Hey, how did this frozen daiquiri get here?

Excellence Punta Cana, (866) 540-2585; www.excellence-resorts.com