We booked a week at Secrets Sanctuary after reading all the wonderful reviews on Trip Advisor. it was bliss! The staff, with the exception of the odd confrontational waiter, were extremely courteous and helpful. The food was great, our room fabulous, the grounds were beautiful, clean pools, soft beach towels, lovely location and the week just melted by. Definitely recommended to those seeking relaxation away from the throng.
Now for those planning a trip, here is all the information that I would have appreciated before I arrived....
Room categories: Basic accommodation are the Castle Junior Suites and the Beach View Junior Suites. Hardly basic. The majority of Castle Junior suites look inland and some unfortunately overlook the Japanese restaurant, below which is not my idea of getting away from it all.. We upgraded to an Ocean View Castle Suite at the time of booking which, when we eventually got it, was truly fabulous and blew the 'basic' suite out of the water. For some reason, the hotel tried to fob us off with a Castle Junior Suite that just happened to have a side view of the sea but also was directly located over a plastic corrugated roof where staff were sat talking loudly as we unpacked. I thought the room was dark, cramped with furniture and was a little disappointed that it was not 'Ocean Front'. We had spent 14 hours travelling so one could argue we were too tired to appreciate it all when we were bombarded by the sound of drills, hammering and sawing that seemed to be going on directly outside our room. We phoned to say we did not like the room and were told the hotel was full which we later found to be untrue. When we complained about the noise another room was found and finally we were exactly where we needed to be - enormous open plan suite, great bathroom (the bath was in a bad state so we settled for the wonderful shower) big, walk-in wardrobe and expansive balcony overlooking the ocean, palm trees and a little plot of grass for the guest below. The bathroom toiletries are great and the towels which are often a disappointment abroad, were soft, fluffy and plentiful. There was a turn down service and if you had used any towels they were replaced. Sadly, the 'silk' robes provided were a little bit of grim polyester. Come on Secrets Sanctuary, cotton towelling or waffle or nothing. There is twenty four hour room service but it can take a while so patience is needed. An expresso machine is provided but being British, I like an early morning cup of tea so the absence of a kettle was a big minus. We rang room service each morning to request a thermos jug of hot water and tea bags because it takes so long to bring. Sometimes a teapot with luke warm water would arrive and any extras like fruit or croissants ordered would most likely be forgotten. Normal wait was half and hour but sometimes this was much much longer. Just in case anyone else has a problem with room categories, our first room was 2061 which is where the Castle Junior suites begin. Our new room was 2056 so we worked out you'd be good up to 2060. Incidentally, we met another couple on their honeymoon who had also been 'down graded'. So be warned. The hotel did get in touch with us after the holiday to ask us to leave our comments here but to address any complaints to them first in the hope they could rectify/explain any problems. I did. In full. Still waiting for them to get back to me. That's over three weeks ago.
Rooms aside, the restaurants are fabulous. All wine by the glass is part of the AI but they may be the odd waiter who pushes those on their first night to BUY a bottle. There really is no need. Their house wine is good. My partner said the red was perfectly acceptable and if you like a Sauvignon Blanc, the white will suit. People always have their own favourite eating place and so I won't bore anyone with mine except to say that lunch at the Blue Marlin (open to the sea air, on stilts out in the ocean) was worth it just for the view even if the food was a bit hit and miss. Everywhere else, the service was impeccable and the presentation truly five stars. Last comment on the food, we had a candlelit dinner for two on the beach and though I din't expect great things, it was the best meal of the holiday. Such thought had gone into it and the sound of the ocean lapping close by was really lovely. Highly recommended.
There is a wonderful spa and I went twice but it is expensive, especially by British standards but they may offer you a discount voucher part way in to your week and worth hanging on for. The therapists are very skilled and the ambience is so restful.
Lots of lovely soft towels by the pool and beach, lots of sun loungers (all the best ones are bagged well before breakfast) but sadly a lack of shade. We preferred the cool breeze on the (tiny) beach but ended up clustered under the shade of the few trees. Some parasols down there would be a bonus. It does get awfully hot in the sun.
There are two large pools in the central area that are beautifully clean but half way in to our stay we discovered the Ocean Club in the Castle which was very quiet and had a pool that was hardly used and refreshingly freezing cold. Also they make great cocktails in the bar there.
There is nightly entertainment and music and dancing in the Love Bar every night. We met some really great people there. It's noisy but it doesn't intrude on anyone outside who would just like a quiet night under the stars.
Sorry if I highlighted my grumbles - it is always of worth to someone - but in the balance of things, I really loved this hotel, the people and if I am truly honest, it was one of the best holidays we have ever had.
- 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