My wife and I came to Sanctuary Cap Cana for our Honeymoon and stayed with them for a week (11/7-11/14). We were looking for a nice relaxing getaway with good food and great beach/pool settings. Sanctuary definitely delivered on the relaxing part of our desires as we found it to be an extremely peaceful, quiet resort but it underwhelmed in some other areas...
Room - Our room was beautiful. We had booked the Honeymoon Suite but, upon arrival, we were upgraded to the Imperial Suite in the fortress. It was a large suite with an enormous sun deck and private outdoor pool with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. We were completely satisfied with the room. We had some trouble figuring out how to get the A/C to work but that was out fault, not theirs. Our mini bar was full of water, soda and beer but we were disappointed to find we couldn't get Wine in our Mini-bar without paying extra. Our room was cleaned nicely each day and I honestly don't have any complaints about our room-related services. Our only complaint about the room would be the fine details. The wood floors were poorly maintained and the bed was not the most comfortable I've slept on but, overall, it was satisfactory. We would've also like there to have been screen doors on the sliding glass doors we had in our room so we could better enjoy the amazing ocean breezes. We did see a GIGANTIC cockroach in the room on our second-last-night and that put a damper on things as it caused my wife to freak out but, we understand that to have only seen 1 insect in a tropical location is probably not a big deal. Any complaints I make about the room should be considered nitpicking.
Food - This is where we start to have some issues with Sanctuary. Everywhere I read, the food at this resort was highly rated and even Frommer's rated it some of the best food in the Caribbean. If that's the case, I would hate to see what the rest of the region has to offer. We had no issue with the amount of restaurants open each night, there were always plenty to choose form and anyone who complains about that is probably just overly negative. The Pros - as far as restaurants were concerned, Wok was probably the best. We were satisfied with everything we ate their, no issues with Wok. Cappriccio - the Italian restaurant was OK but, then again, we kept it basic with Salads and Pizza. Nothing to write home about for sure. Blue Marlin - This place is woefully overrated. My tuna was severely overcooked, they brought us the wrong meal twice and the service was dreadfully slow. I don't know why this place seemingly has such great reviews, I would rate it a 1 out of 5. Steakhouse - Again, terrible service, terrible food. My steak was Well Done even though I ordered it Medium Rare and, other than the salad my wife had, we thought the bread was the only decent part of the meal. Casa Bella - They had a special dinner there the first night we arrived and it was very good, no complaints. Room Service - Not terrible for room service but lots of disappointment nonetheless. Breakfast was pretty solid each day by room service standards but we had a few lunches and late night snacks that were really bad. I ordered a club sandwich and they forgot the Turkey and the Bacon.
The BEST meals we had, by FAR, were the times we ate at the lunch buffet at Casa Bella. This was a breath of fresh air. Really good burgers form the grill, Salad bar with all kinds of fixings and a lot of different chafing dish options each day. Was a nice meal each time.
Bars/Alcohol - We knew coming into the trip that this was not the resort for amazing parties and night-life so we were not surprised to see that the bars were pretty docile. The Love bar was nice and we had a lot of fun during Karaoke night. The Ocean Club bar near the fortress was also really nice. I will say that the beer selection was one of the biggest disappointments of the trip. No one had anything but Presidente and Presidente Light and both of those beers are essentially Shark Piss. I was able to finagle 2 Budweiser's from the Love Bar manager our 2nd night there and, compared to Presidente, it tasted like liquid gold. Wine was not great but, nothing unexpected when it comes to house wine.
Pools - The pools were all great. the main pool was drained one morning though and no one seemed to have an explanation. The vendors that are at the pool area on some days are really annoying, especially "Bottom Line Bob." He was a real piece of work. The only other complain about the pool was that it was difficult to find a spot with an umbrella some days but had no issue finding lounge chairs. Also, the service around the pool and at the pool bar was great. I see some people on here complaining about the service but we had no issues. If you are good to people, they will be good right back. I have a feeling those complaining about the service at the pool are probably the type that are never satisfied. The infinity pool up by the main building is great but they should have some more lounge chairs around it.
Beach - The resort beach was VERY underwhelming. We actually only went to the Resort beach our first day and that was enough. It's very small and devoid of plush sand. Not a great experience. That said, just past the fortress is an AMAZING public beach. We spent a lot of time here, probably one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Amazing soft, white sand. Beautiful water and you can just keep walking and find yourselves a nice private spot if you like. The service area at the public beach was great as they had a large selection of beers and drinks and the Food was EXCELLENT. Of course, you have to pay for everything a la carte at the public beach but it was well worth it. I would recommend that EVERYONE plan on spending at least a day or two at Juanillo Beach because its a 30 second walk from the resort and it is breathtaking.
Service - Overall the service at the hotel was great. Everyone was very nice, responsive and helpful. I made a point of tipping very well our first few days there and that probably made a difference but, either way, I don't have any complaints about the employees or the service there. Again, if you are kind and respectful of the employees there, they will take very good care of you. Just don't be a rude jerk to them and you'll be fine.
Excursions/Off-site - We did the buggy tour and it was fun. It lasted about 3 hours and we had a blast. The vehicles were a little sketchy but no issues. I would recommend doing the buggy tour over the Blue Lagoon, or, Hoyo Azul. It is actually one of the stops on the tour and, while it is cool, I couldn't imagine spending more than 10 minutes there. Definitely better to see it as part of the buggy tour. We also took a trip to the Cap Cana Marina one day which was interesting. This place is beautiful but it is an absolute GHOST TOWN. They must've run out of funding or something because it strikes you as incomplete. It's a shame because it has a lot of potential but the place is just desolate. It's a HUGE marina but there was maybe 5 other people there. There was a nice little market there with Beer, wine, liquor and some Italian meats and breads which was cool.
Overall we had a good time but everything wasn't as advertised. I would recommend it for a nice relaxing vacation but don't expect too much form the food or the resort beach because you will be sorely disappointed.
In summary: Great Rooms, Great Service, Great Pools, terrible Beer, Sub-par food and devoid of activities.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Report response as inappropriate
We would like to express our gratitude for sharing your observations about your recent vacation at Sanctuary Cap Cana.
We are sorry to read we were not able to exceed your expectations due several aspects, we have sent your comments to the corresponding managers in order to take them under consideration and improve the procedures at the mentioned departments as a way to prevent this type of situation in the future
Please accept our most sincere apology for the inconveniences and we can assure you that your notes have been helpful for us.
I would like to ask you for another opportunity to be able to recover your confidence to our brand and show you the real Sanctuary experience, we will be pleased to host you again and guarantee your complete satisfaction the next time.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.