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“Fantastic and Romantic Honeymoon-definitely will return”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #41 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Toms River, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic and Romantic Honeymoon-definitely will return”
Reviewed May 31, 2011

My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon at this resort. What an amazing time we had! The place is truly paradise. The service was fantastic, the resort was extremely clean, food was delicious-including room service. Our room was always cleaned and our bed decorated with flowers with every evening turn down service. The staff was amazing-especially "Frank the Tank". He actually sat down and talked to us after hours and that is something you don't find at any resort. The grounds of this resort were beautiful. We got the couples massage and that was very relaxing. We also got pedicures (could have been better) but still good. EXCELLENT EXCELLENT TIME!! We do not have any complaints! Will definitely try to return to celebrate our first anniversary.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank Vicki730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Indiana
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2011

Our stay at Secrets Sanctuary was much better than we initially expected. I (husband) personally was a little skeptical about staying at an all-inclusive resort because I have had poor experiences with them before in other locations. So, going into this experience at the advice of my wife I had several lingering reservations.

Upon our arrival we were transported into a land of luxury and service as one of the bellmen handed us a wet cloth to cool ourselves off with and an offer of a refreshing glass of ice water. The check-in experience was outstanding and the charming attitude of the front-desk clerk was contagious. She made sure to use both of our names and anticipated our needs without skipping a beat. Check-in was fast, efieicent, and beyond our expectations. By the time we finished check-out the bellmen had alredy loaded our luggage into a golf cart-shuttle and gave us a ride to the hotel room. Although the hotel staff do not expect a tip we typically gave $1-2 (USD) per shuttle ride.

The room was fantastic and after posting pics on Facebook we recevied several comments on how unbelieveable the room was. We stayed in a honeymoon junior suite that had two large rooms (a living room and bedroom) and a spacious bathroom with plenty of room for my wife and I to get ready at the same time. The room was prepared with the AC on and a mini bar (complimentary) full of water, pop, uice, and a local beer. The mini bar was stocked all day long and if we ever ran out of anything it was replensihed immediately by room service. The bed was comfortable, soft, and cozy. Free internet was a bonus because my wife and I like to stay in touch with friends and family via facebook and we were able to talk to our daughters on Skype. The patio opened up to a private pool and beach chairs which overlooked a beautiful part of the beach and ocean. It was perfect for late evening relaxing before leaving for dinner.

Next door to our suite was the Ocean bar which acted almost as our private seaside bar since the waiter was kind enough to bring some wine over to us (shhh....don't tell). Most of the time it was quiet with very few guests in the bar which made it more accessable. The restaurants on the campus of the hotel were outstanding and we had the opportunity to enjoy each one of them on several occastions. Wait staff were exceptional with their service and went out of their way to meet our needs. My wife had mentioned a lack of selection of desserts (but then again she is a professional baker). We never waited longer than expected for anything and this includes refills which is quite amazing. If we were going to stay longer than 1 week we both had mentioned that more variety in the menu selection would have been nice but it was sufficient for a 1 week stay or less. One notable story that I would like to mention is that on our last day we had breakfast in Casa Bella and one of the waiters had noticed I was looking for something that I could not find. He approached me and when I told him what I was looking for he, without hesitation, went to find it and brought it to me although they were not offering it that day. That's incredible service!

The entertainment was enjoyable at the Love bar and they had a solid variety of various shows that captivated the audience and enticed us to return each night. During the performances a waiter/waitress walks around taking orders for complimentary drinks which is a nice touch since getting up from the performance would be less than desirable.

We had an opportunity to enjoy the spa (thanks to VIP coupons given to us at check-in) and it was fantastic! My wife had the hot stone massage and I went to the gym but since her massage went longer than my workout I went back to the spa to wait for her. One of the employees noticed that I was sitting and waiting for my wife and she invited me to use the spa hot tub while I waited for her. My wife raved about the amazing spa treatment and I can back up her claims since I was able to enjoy the hot tub, vapor room, and shower room for myself. After the spa my wife's massage therapist came to visit with us and offered us juice, cookies, and fruit. It was nice to receive such special treatment and attention! By the way, in the weight room there is a personal trainer by the name of Elvis who helped me with my workout and had some interesting stories to share about his expeirence working and living in the Dominican Republic.

We only gave the rooms a 4 out of 5 because we did have a couple of negative experiences which are noteable. On the third day our creditcards came up missing and although we had remembered locking them away in the safe could possibly have left them out on the table. We did not leave the room with them because there was no need for them and we also had a Starbucks card with the credit cards and there would have been no reason to take the Starbucks card with us. We would not accuse anyone of stealing because it is circumstantial at best but there really is not good explination for why the cards went up missing other than we misplaced them or a member of the staff took them. We spproached the manager about the situation and he (Marco) was very attentive and responsive to the situation. Security came to the room and looked around with us but nothing ever came of it. Although it was a poor situation I believe the hotel responded in the best way it could have. The concierge even offered to help us cancel our cards! To this days we still have not found the cards.

One other negative point was the room service food quality. The steak fajitas were good but several other entrees that we tried were less than enjoyable. We assumed that room service would be less quality than the restaurants but the quality difference was much more noticable than we expected.

Overall, this was a great experience! Our negative remarks were minute and if thats all we had in 1 weeks time they are doing quite well! Definitely stay here if you want a worry free relaxing experience in paradise!!

Room Tip: Contact the hotel staff through Facebook!
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank TheZingos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2011

Truly a place to relax in a gorgeous, romantic setting. There are enough activities to be involved in if you want to be social and enjoy the company of the other vacationers but it is also very low key and calming. This is not a party place --- more of a destination where you will find honeymooners and well established couples. Romance, luxury and excellent service in a true to life picturesque setting. I was amazed that the resort looked JUST LIKE the pictures on the website!! The food was delicious with gourmet smaller sized portions. Even though you could order as much as you wanted, I just wished the portions would be initially larger. Drinks were delicious and plentiful. The best food we had was at the Blue Marlin... absolutely fresh & full of flavor! Not as impressed with the steakhouse (steak was charred and overdone, appetizers too salty) but overall the food was delicious. The Spa is AMAZING and they treat you like royalty. Spa ammenities were fabulous! Jennifer in the spa reception was so delightful and helped us with all our requests--- always with a smile on her face! 24 hr room service was wonderful as well!

Room Tip: More than pleased w/the Oceanview Jr. Suite!!
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
2 Thank bellissima806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2011

My Wife and I stayed at Secrets Sanctuary from May 11-18. We have traveled in the Carribean several times now, but with no question, this Staff and Resort were second to none. It was simply Amazing how much they would make you feel welcomed, and they seem to generally care about your needs and the idea of making sure you are enjoying your stay.
This Resort is absolutly beautiful and again part of the beauty is the Staff and the surroundings.
We read several reviews prior to going to the Dominican and especially Secrets Santuary. As honesty could ever be, disregard any bad reviews you have read. I will simply say that whoever had written those reviews, were not dissapointed in this Resort, but just very unhappy and selfish people. You could not go wrong with this Resort.
The Staff - Amazing people. I don't want to go through the whole list because I am sure I would miss some names, but at the top of the list and needing mentioning are,
JARLIN - Concierge - This lady is as good as it gets. She works hard and Cares!!
The entertainment team - The whole group! Willie Wonka, Frank, Micky Mouse, Santana. Gents - Thanks for the wonderful memories and helping our Vacation to be rememberable. The waiters, waitresses, ALL AMAZING!
Another Staff member who really stood out to my Wife and I and I will say, I beleive he is the hardest physical worker there and deserves HUGE PROPS is OSCAR. The towel Master, the Pool Guy, the Clean up guy, Whatever you want to call him, but he works hard and deserves respect from everyone.

Food Very Good
Room Excellent
Grounds Excellent
Beach Very Good - Small but very nice
Staff 5 GOLD STARS!!

Thanks Again Secrets Sanctuary, and we are looking forward to our return soon!

Room Tip: The tip for this resort - ENJOY THIS STAFF
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kenji11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arlington, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2011

First off I would like to say I read most of the reviews and was able to see the negatives of most ppl were not something I was concerned about. With that being said let me first address a complaint that I see here too often.

The atmosphere here was truly a Sanuctuary...so quiet and peaceful! You really never ran into another person unless you wanted to.

Food: I want to eat the food you guys are eating if you consider the food disgusting. I can be very particular about food and my expectations. I think I set my standards for a buffet type food (this was my first all inclusive) and I was really impressed that the food was much better than expected! I couldn't believe the variety at the buffet the Rice and Beans are delicious. Restaurants decor and views were wonderful. Loved the Japanese Restaurant...didn't make it to the steak house...I didn't like the meal I had at the Italian restaurant...but my husband loved his.

Room: We were in a Jr Suite and the room was spacious and very clean. It was much larger than most apartment homes! The bathroom was so nice!! Bed was soo comfortable!! Never needed the air conditioning with the nice breeze from the ocean!!

Beach: Amazing amazing sunrise!! Beautiful sand and water...and I am from Florida and visit Key West often and this beach really exceeded my expectations! Very relaxing and clean! Me and my husband went Kayaking also!! so fun! We actually did a lot of the activities available: Dance lessons, visited the fitness room (could be bigger), yoga on the beach, volleyball...

Staff: Everyone from the front desk/buffet/bellmen and simply everyone we encountered on the resort was wonderful..I LOVE FRANK THE TANK, CAROLINA and WILLY WONKA!! PAY THEM MORE!! :)

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank gracielemon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Syracuse, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2011

My wife and I spent a lot of time researching online, with travel agents, and speaking to friends about where we would celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. We examined potential spots all over the Caribbean for several months. I have an allergy to gluten (wheat, barley, rye, and oats). Our search was narrowed down to resorts which would accommodate this diet. Very few people have written reviews about their experiences at resorts which cater to someone with a gluten free diet. I will spend a lot of time writing about that in my review so that I can hopefully help someone enjoy the same experience as I did at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana.

Early in 2011 I emailed numerous executive chefs in the Caribbean. One resort responded and said they had consulted with their legal team and due to my allergy were advised not to accommodate us for a vacation. Two executive chefs responded with thorough, gracious, welcoming replies. One of these two responses was from Pascal Messier at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana. We exchanged e-mail messages several times in the weeks prior to our trip. Pascal responded within hours each time answering my questions, giving me every assurance that my dietary concerns would be cared for during our stay there. Just knowing that in advance helped us to relax before we even departed for vacation. I actually brought some gluten free baking mixes with me to the resort for Pascal to prepare. There were so many gluten free options at the restaurants that I actually could have brought very little with me and still had more than enough options at every meal and snacks in between. It quickly became apparent to us that we would not have any issue finding food for me to eat. Rather, our concern would be pacing ourselves with all of the options presented to us. One simple recommendation I might give would be to label items on the menus as gluten free options (GF) just as they do vegan, and low calorie, etc. Even without the labels, most of the descriptions on the menu gave me a fairly good idea of what probable options might be. Pascal and Ethel were always there to confirm.

Ethel (the Soo chef) met us upon our arrival, took the baking goods we had brought with us, and gave us such confidence that we would have no problems eating during our stay. I can honestly say, Pascal and/or Ethel were there for us the entire week at every meal in every restaurant. Sometimes I would tell them where I would be and other times they would somehow just find me. It was like they were looking for me to make sure everything was going well with my meals often checking in before and after meals. Pascal and Ethel were so attentive to detail, organized, and hard working. I never expected such consistent personalized attention. In our opinion, Pascal and Ethel went above and beyond job descriptions and our expectations.

Oscar was a server/waiter who was an enormous help to us during meal times. At our first meal he knew what my allergy was and had several recommendations from the Blue Marlin menu at lunch. Oscar would also find me throughout the rest of the week to make sure that everything was going well during and after meals. You could tell he wanted to make sure I had what I needed. He never acted inconvenienced and always said, “My pleasure.” You could tell he was genuine and loved doing his job with excellence. There were several restaurant workers who did not understand my allergy. However, they knew who I was and were quick to call for Pascal, Ethel, Oscar, or someone else to assist me. Within minutes, one of them would show up at our table. The ladies working at the entrance to Casa De Bella for breakfast recognized me every day, knew I had an allergy, and would go get Pascal.

Overall, we found every person in the restaurants to be extremely hard working from the top with Pascal and Ethel all the way down to those working at the grill, bars, and serving tables. I actually felt guilty for the special treatment, but I was so grateful for it. The best proof of the wonderful care was that I did not get sick at all during the entire week. Having my dietary need met was essential to us enjoying all of the rest of what Secrets Sanctuary had to offer which was a ton!

The time period from exiting the airplane to arriving at the resort took about 40 minutes. It was so simple going through customs, getting our bags, and finding our prearranged transportation. There was someone at the baggage claim to match our bags with our bag tags stapled to our tickets. We felt extremely safe throughout the entire process. You pass through a security gate to enter both Cap Cana and a separate one to enter the resort.

We arrived at the resort and were immediately welcomed by several handsome, smiling young men. Miami helped us to our room with our bags. He was so friendly and helpful all week. We enjoyed seeing him and having conversations with him throughout the week. He is a very grateful, hard working young man.

Our room was perfect for us. We were in a junior ocean view suite. Based on our conversations with other vacationers, we probably had a more basic room. Nevertheless, we were impressed with the view, the space, and the cleanliness, the attention to detail, the comfort, the beauty, and the relaxing atmosphere. We honestly wouldn’t have spent more money to get a better room. It totally met our needs. After spending so much time at the pools and beach, we didn’t necessarily need a pool in our room. We liked being closer to the main area. The farthest we had to walk was to the fitness room in the fortress. We were getting ready to exercise anyway so walking wasn’t a big deal. Even though we were close to the restaurants, pools, and main area, it stayed peaceful and quiet in our room.

The balance of relaxation and activity was ideal. We had no trouble finding a solitary place to relax, read, and talk while enjoying amazing views and the wonderful service. At the same time, activities were periodically offered by the entertainment team. The shows at night were enjoyable after dinner. The dancing, karaoke, and beach party were memorable and fun. Willy Wonka, Mickey Mouse, and other members of the team were a great combination. One morning Willy Wonka guided my wife and I on a bike ride around Cap Cana. He has a lot of energy and charisma.
There were people in every location looking to help you all over the resort. The two gentlemen who worked in the fitness room were even very helpful. They would bring you a towel and bring in fresh squeezed orange juice to drink after your workout in the morning. I noticed them stepping in to help people adjust the equipment when they saw the opportunity. The spa was also well appointed and run. Overall, the resort pays careful attention to detail and those who are employed there work extremely hard at their jobs. I am very particular about cleanliness. I typically wear something on my feet in hotel rooms. It seemed like they mopped the tile floor in our entire room and bathroom every day. I was barefoot all the time.

This vacation definitely comes close to topping previous vacations we’ve taken to places like Maui and St. Lucia. If you are looking for a place to get away and relax with adults only and enjoy great food, quality, clean facilities, and friendly hard working staff, Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana is a perfect choice. We would definitely recommend this resort and hope to return ourselves.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank awarnken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 26, 2011

One word describes the entire stay at this resort. Excellente. A word you'll hear quite often. Everything met and exceeded our expectations. We were greeted after a VERY short drive from the air port with a colorful drink and a cool towel. The first words we heard were "Welcome Home" and the staff here does everything they can to make you feel that way. Shout outs to Bernardo, the best bartender at the resort, he'll get to know your name and soon you'll be heading to the pool bar every day multiple times a day to just relax and enjoy the company around you. Frank the tank and Willy Wonka will provide you with nightly entertainment and always make you smile. Marco the rooms manager will make sure your stay here is everything and more that you could ever dream of. The concierge's here are outstanding, they will make sure you are taken care of. Miami one of the bell boys is friendly, helpful, and speedy and will always be there to help you get where you need to be. Marisol our room cleaning attendant kept us taken care of daily and was always in a cheerful mood. Jesus and Junior will take good care of you around the pool bar and beach area, you need something, you talk to them and you will get it promptly.

One bit of advice is to leave small tips for those who perform you a service. This is not a rich country but leaving a tip for good service or to thank them for their patronage will go above and beyond their expectations as staff members, they do not ever expect or want tips but it definitely helps them get through their days more enjoyable.

Another huge bit of advice is haggle with the vendors that setup at the pools, they will take advantage of you if you are not careful but make sure you agree on a price or walk away they can't stop you from doing that. They are true salesmen and they will definitely high ball you.

We stayed in a castle suite with a swim out overlooking the ocean, we woke up to ocean views every morning.

The food here is absolutely excellent, you can't get better than this in this area. Purely divine. The breakfast buffet was our hot spot for breakfast, and then we dined and all of the other restaurants daily making sure to hit each one in our week long trip.

Take time to get to know the resort for your first day, take as many pictures as you can because it is the most beautiful atmosphere I believe you will ever see on the island.

I feel like there's so much more I can say but this truly is a hidden treasure that is well worth your time. My wife and I came here for our honeymoon in the first week of May and it was absolutely the best days we've ever had in our lives and we are anxious to return. They provide you with discounts for repeat business so make sure you come back! Also leave an honest review so improvements can be made, if you've followed this resort since Secrets has taken over you will gradually see how changes were made to improve YOUR overall experience, and it shows.

Thank you again Marco and team for giving us memories we will never forget, and congrats on the wedding you are going to have an awesome time.

-Jason and Jenifer (we love patron... :P, and Trump beach.. lol) Until we meet again Secrets, many many many thanks.

Room Tip: Reach out to Marco Pena
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank X2D
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 by AlSol

Property: Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Address: Boulevard Zona Hotelera, Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana 0809, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol 5*
Number of rooms: 174
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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