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“Worst resort ever!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Cap Cana

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Sanctuary Cap Cana
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Boulevard Zona hotelera, Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana 0809, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #20 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Calgary, Canada
1 review
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Worst resort ever!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

This place was a real nightmare. Cant even begin to exlpain all the issues we had but I wouldnt want any other couple to go here. Everything in our room was broken, ceiling leaking, mouse in room, animal feces on bed, room service was awful and brought the wrong meals after two hours, private pool in shade 24hrs a day.... Just dont go! please find a different resort.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,446 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

First, I have to start by thanking Corey, Hector and the incredible warm, gracious staff (especially Kelvin, Gregoria and Juan) for the best vacation we've had in ages.

I created a tripadvisor profile just so I could write a review for The Sanctuary, and the verdict is this place is guilty of excellence, relaxation, and serendipity. I can't imagine why there are mixed reviews, as I have been dreading my departure from the Sanctuary for days.

My family stayed in two ocean front villas - a two bedroom and a one bedroom (thus, one caveat to this review is I cannot speak to the hotel rooms as I have not seen them). The villas are massive and beautiful, and the two bedroom villa has a private deck overlooking the ocean (see photos).

The resort itself is stunning, one almost feels like he or she has been sent back in time to beautiful Spanish architecture amongst the green of the landscape and aquamarine of the Caribbean Sea. Day or night at any angle, the views are breathtaking (see photo).

All this would be adequate, but what truly differentiates the Sanctuary beyond its luxury and breathtakingly beautiful vistas is its staff. Upon arrival we were immediately greeted with smiles and warmth by several staff members as well as the managers themselves, Corey and Hector, who welcomed us home. Throughout the week, we were greeted by name and no ask, big or small, was answered without a genuine smile and a "es un placer." Whether Corey himself went to get facewash for us at the spa or Kelvin brought extra espresso for our coffee addicted family, there was never a feeling of anything less than complete pampering. This pampering was nuanced because everyone seemed to get such pleasure to make us happy.

There are two areas where I do think the hotel might be able to transition from excellent to perfect: the spa and the food (specifically dinner). Both were average (not bad). The Spa could benefit from a bit more luxury given the prices, and dinner service could benefit from additional variety (more cuisine options) as well as faster and more accurate service (some of which could've been driven by the language barrier). one other note is the house wine could be of higher quality, though Corey and Hector set very clear expectations with us about this from the beginning. I know that Corey and his staff are working furiously to get the spa and dinner options into flawless shape and I have no doubt by the time we're back they will be.

Me voy del Sanctuary con un corazón roto porque quiero quedarme siempre, pero soy mas relajada de lo que he sido por mucho tiempo...para mi, The Sanctuary crea una definición nueva de paraíso.

we will be back - thank you!


Room Tip: Choose an oceanfront villa. there is really no other way to go.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

I am so impressed with the management of this resort, i dont know where to start describing how good my stay was. The cleanliness of the rooms was exceptional, the staff was at all time courteous and friendly and they're always seem to go the extra mile for whatever you need, the resort itself is breathtaking with its colonial looks and rustic yet tasteful details in every corner of it. Food was delicious in every occasion. I am definitely going back for my anniversary. You will be amazed on how they will treat you i cannot get over how lovely people that work there are. Big thumbs up for the management and staff.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

Returned last evening from my second stay at this Amazing Place! My first visit was January last year, I was attracted to the over all charm it appeared to have. Upon arrival I realized that while that was everything and more than I expected it did not compared to extraordinary charm of the people who continuously strive to meet your every need. Let me just say nothing has changed in that respect. The people on the staff at this property are probably the best overall that I've ever encountered in my travels. They continuously work their hearts out to make your stay everthing you dreamed it would be. I could regal you with pages of special traits of each of them, instead I hope you will go and experience them for yourselves. Be warned however, they will raise the bar on your expectations for travel to other destinations.

I learned during my stay last year that there would be changes coming in the following season. Having had such a incredible stay I was a little uncertain about what to expect this season. I can only say that my concern was unwarranted.

To be honest there were a few things I missed this season. Mostly the entertainment provided by their entertainment crew from last year, they kept things a little more lively. It's pretty easy to fall into what I like to refer to as the "Caribbean Fog" where it becomes hard to force yourself off the lounger and they did a great job of shaking you out of it with volleyball, croquet, water aerobics, dance lessons etc... It's my understanding that the lack of this is only temporary and I really hope that's true.

The fact that the property went to family friendly worried me a bit as well. I'm generally a solo traveler so usuallly book adults only properties to avoid the possibilties of having to deal with unattended children. Again my concerns were for not. While there were numerous families with small childern it was never an issue. On top of that they do offer the adults only area on the property as well.

As was the case in my previous visit the other quests appeared to be as thrilled with their stay as I was and that's always wonderful. Nothing worse than spending your relaxing time in the sun listening to constant complaint from other travelers. I can easily say I didn't have any complaints and didn't really hear any from other quests.

When it comes to the rooms I'm fairly positive there isn't a bad one on the property. I absolutely loved mine. I was in a Beach Front Villa and will definetly request it again when I return. It was so charming it was hard to leave it. Housekeeping does an excellent job. My room was well stocked and I never had to ask for anything.

The food was abundant and very good. Other reveiws have mentioned that not all the restaurants were open and that is true. However, they rotate the restaurants that are open on a nightly basis and I personally found that to be just fine. As with last year the room service was wonderful and delivered in a very timely fashion.

The beach was as beautiful as I remembered and the pool as lovely and refreshing. It's so nice not to have to rise with the sun to be able to find a lounge chair. The lounge beds on the beach have a way of beckoning to enjoy an afternoon siesta. And the cocktails, you'll develop your own favorite when you get there. Have fun sampling!

I admit if your going for the major night life scene and belly shots on the bar this isn't the place for you and hopefully never will be. However the transportation to that is easy, safe and not terribly expensive so you can get to that and still come home to paradise to recover. As with any other possible requests you may have the front desk staff is more than ready to assist you. As is the Concierge staff, all awesome people.

While I'm not a golfer I spoke with other quests that thought the courses were great. Other activities like the snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins and zip lining were also big hits. Talk to the Concierges they'll hook you up. When booking excursions you should ask if food and beverage are provided and if not bring some cash. Some of the excursions are longer than you might think and may or may not provide this so check ahead as not to be disapponted for not having known.

I'm finding myself rambling on again as I did last year so I'll end this by saying, if your looking for a place that's laid back, beautiful and full of happy people check out this "Little Slice of Heaven."

Maybe I'll see you there!

Room Tip: If it's in your budget the Villas are incredible. Also very fond of the Beach Front Premium suit...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

This was our second trip this year to Sanctuary (early December 2012). It is under management transition (Corey) and it is NO LESS amazing than our experience in May (the only difference was the mosquitos in december!!). The staff is outstanding and service oriented. The Blue Marlin is a fun place to eat and gather and the menu never gets old. We had a beach wedding and our reception was in the Palappa. The staff transformed it into a gorgeous and intimate setting for us and our guests (thank you Kary G and Victoria!). We had a villa on the beach and the rooms were clean and well cared for; the housekeeping staff was superb and met every request. Room service available 24h! Our wedding guests said this was the best vacation they had EVER had, and two of them live in Hawaii!!! We will be going back every year.

We used two vendors recommended by the hotel that we LOVED:

Therese McManus at CTS Travel services arranged a catamaran cruise for us post wedding on the Marine Caribe. Amazing crew and captain, amazing water, tremendous fun on the ocean! Two hot tubs on the catamaran and snorkeling. Abel Hernandez was our great CTS representative that day and took exceptional care of us! Our guests raved about this one and we will definitely do again.

Hands down recommendation for Martin and Sebastian from Ameztoy/Ambrogetti Photography (www.martinameztoy.com) in Bravaro, D.R. They met with us ahead of the wedding and took some of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. Not only that, they are warm and personable and will tailor their approach to whatever you want. They are new lifelong friends and we can't stop looking at our pics!

Room Tip: we stayed in beach front villa and ocean view suites and loved both. I have never stayed in any of...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

We chose this resort as our wedding location and honey moon, Very very very happy with our experience. Managment, and staff are incredibly nice!! If you want a real vacation this is the place to come. Since we had our wedding there, I got to see a bunch of diferent suite options where our family where staying, and they are all very very nice.

Is another absolute 'yes' we are coming back to our upcoming anniversaries!!! In love with this resort!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012 via mobile

Just for some background my wife and I went to Sanctuary the week of December 15th and booked a two-level castle suite with a private indoor pool. All-in-all we would rate this establishment as 4.4 out of 5 stars. The place could be five stars, with a little bit of work. Below are a few observations of the good, the bad, and the nitpicky. Please note that taking everything into consideration we will return here

The service is definitely above par. Each person we encountered was polite, attentive and willing to go the extra mile. We had several maintenance issue which were resolved within a few minutes. In one case we had someone come fix a shower issue within four minutes. The resort is spread out and if you don't want to walk the staff will happily volunteer to transport you in a golf cart. The restaurant and bar staff are very pleasant and will do whatever they can to help you.

The resort is breathtaking. Everything is designed with aesthetics in mind. No matter where you go here flowers, elegant rock structures and high end finishes all around you. A lot of care went into the design of this resort.

The resort is rapidly becoming run down. It seems the managers are skimping on maintenance to save money. For example we had broken fixture in the shower, falling pieces off the rock walls, broken lights, broken Ethernet ports, scratched and dented floors and furniture, etc, etc. it is shame to see such a beautiful place falling apart.

Very limited dining options. Short of room service there is only one real restaurant option for lunch and dinner. Moreover, the menus do not seem to change within a given week so if you don't like the menu that is offered you will be somewhat isolated and hungry. The real irritation is that there are several restaurants, but they only open one!

One negative aspect we found (as did many others) is the minibar service. For whatever reason the person responsible for refilling he fridge failed to complete that task day in and day out. Even when we called the concierge and asked for it to be restocked nobody ever showed up. In the end we just kept calling room service and they took care of it.

.:Requests for Enhancement:.
This facility needs a technological upgrade. There is wifi in some of the restaurants and near the main pool but not in the rooms or other areas. It would not be difficult to put in a handful of repeaters and provide wireless everywhere. For your individual rooms i recommend bringing a router with you!

Provide heaters for the private pools. If you purchase a room with an indoor or outdoor pool you will notice the water us very cold - much cooler than ocean water. So unLess you like to polar bear swim the pool is somewhat useless unless you just came back from a run during the midday.

.:General Observations:.
The food and beverage prices here are highly expensive. With the current exchange rate a coke, beer or cocktail is about $10. A decent three course lunch (small portions) will run about $100 per couple ($150 for dinner). Now the reason this is not a complaint is because the quality and service is very good. But due to the isolated location and the prices I recommend getting the all inclusive package. We typically racked up about $350-400 per day worth of expenses, and by using the all inclusive package saved about $100 per day. If you are really on a budget this resort is not for you!

If you are a true beachcomber and like to take long walks, go running in the sand or go snorkeling this beach is not for you. There is very limited usable beachfront and the water is somewhat murky. The water is not a product of the resort, of course, but they could have provide much more swimable and usable sandy beach.

There is virtually nothing to do. Now personally I like to sit on the beach, swim and eat - but eventually something else needs to be added into the mix. There are a very limited number of other activities and any other type of activity or excursion is very expensive and operated independently.

There is no nightlife, or even mid-evening life here. All the pools close at 7pm and there are no lights on the beach meaning you have virtually no options. The dinner restaurant(s) open at 6:30 and there is one bar and one prescheduled evening activity after dinner. Otherwise, good luck on finding something to do.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Cap Cana

Address: Boulevard Zona hotelera, Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana 0809, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#20 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sanctuary Cap Cana 5*
Number of rooms: 176
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Its inspired design combines the charm of a Spanish colonial village with the laid-back sensuality of the Caribbean and the stylish sophistication of streamlined, modern design accents. Bougainvillea-lined pathways lead guests through the resort grounds to 176 expansive, private suites housed in replicas of a tower, colonial buildings and fortress. Within the resort are 5 exceptional restaurants, 5 bars, an elegant casino, a half-mile private beach with sugar-white sand, and meeting space for up to 500 guests, while just minutes away lie all the world-class recreational appeals of Cap Cana. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Cap Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort

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