We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Great potential, poor follow through.”

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 13 more sites!
Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #41 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
AR
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great potential, poor follow through.”
Reviewed August 16, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Sanctuary Cap Cana for our honeymoon. I will preface this review by saying that we had an amazing time at the resort and would definitely return in the future, but only the resort begins to offer what they initially advertise.

CONS:

We had booked a room in the castle. Upon arriving, we learn that the castle is closed. We were not informed of this. We are moved to a new room, which was great. It had an amazing view of the ocean and a patio that is bigger than my house. I was REALLY looking forward to my plunge pool, though.

The room's outdoor hot tub was lukewarm and borderline disgusting.

One day we had a heavy rain and learned that the bottom of the doors are not properly sealed, thus causing our room to flood. This was promptly cleaned by the staff and caused no damage. No big deal.

There is a major language barrier with some of the staff.

There was only one restaurant open per night, which alternated between Blue Marlin and the Steakhouse. This was a disappointment after learning of the 5 onsite restaurants.

The beach is horrible and full of seaweed that has to be trucked off every morning.

They let people on site to try and sell their goods to you. My wife got drunk and bought some wood carved monkeys. That's her fault, though. I'm making her display them in the house now to relive her drunken shame.

PROS:

Although only 2 restaurants were open, the food was very good. The paella was amazing and there was enough to feed a small army. When ordering a medium rare steak, make sure to confirm that they have it. The language barrier could lead them to believe you are asking for medium well. Media Rojo is Spanish for Medium Red/Rare and they will understand you.

The service is impeccable. The waiter/waitress never left us wanting for anything, outside of one isolated incident which was taken care of by senior staff.

The views are gorgeous. I cannot even begin to describe what we saw upon waking in the mornings.

Room service is very prompt and polite.

No one bothers you when you have your "Do Not Disturb" sign up.

The pools are great. We mainly stayed around the main pool and had a great time at the bar and swimming around. This will be expounded upon in the "Super Pros" section.

All the staff are very quick to greet you and ask how your day is going, even if they do not have a firm grasp on the language.

The all inclusive package is well worth it if you are anything above a light drinker. Drinks are expensive here and the package included EVERYTHING excluding bottles. Their house wines are good. Nothing exceptional, but better than expected. They have good mid-grade scotch and whiskey options. I didn't really pay attention to the rum and vodka, but it seemed to be similar. The beer selection is lacking, but the Dominican brewed Presidente is very good and much better than Bud/Miller/Coors.

My wife loved the massages. They had a 2 for 1 deal and she was incredibly relaxed upon returning each time.

SUPER PROS:

The pool bar. I'm speechless. The main pool and bar area made our trip a success. There always seemed to be a crew gathered around and everyone was talkative and having a great time telling stories about where they were from and talking trash about college football. Sorry guys, Baylor's wonder years are over.

Carlos, one of the bartenders at the pool bar was quick to greet us every day with a couple of bottles of water before asking us if we would like to drink some Barack Obama's (Presidente Beer). He was great to talk to about the Olympics and he had some great stories about his family. A genuinely great guy. Don't let him talk you into drinking the MamaJuana. It's disgusting.

And last but most certainly not least...

BERNARDO. Bernardo is a bartender at the pool bar. He, along with Carlos, made an amazing team. Always smiling, always quick to help you with anything you needed, and always singing those same songs that play over the speakers every day. He would be there to wake us up from a nap with a bowl of nachos and two beers, along with a reminder to put on sunscreen. On our last day, he even got the cooks to make us an authentic Dominican lunch for a going away present. I am going to do my best to learn how to make it back in the states. It was that good.



In conclusion, if you let the little things spoil your vacation, don't come here. If small things don't bother you and you are able to lay back and enjoy yourself and some amazing Dominican hospitality, then this is the place for you. Sure, there is some work that is needed to be done, but it is still a great time. We plan on returning, only with a much cheaper room (still keeping the all-inclusive package) to make the trip more worth our while. If management is reading this, give Bernardo and Carlos a raise. Seriously. All the money they want.

Room Tip: The castle is apparently closed during the summer months even though you can still book it through t...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Anthony A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

4,500 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    3,142
    844
    297
    128
    89
See reviews for
629
2,954
65
91
Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,219)
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Dallas tx, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2012

i have never written a review before on tripadvisor but because i loved this place so much i had to say somthin'. Very gorgeus, well maintained facility and the staff were very helpful. many thanks to Brenda, Frances, Maria Louise, Rafael, Daniel, Lourdes, Rony at the gate, Marlenis, the entertainment crew
xoxo Mrs Zimbabwe

Room Tip: rent a car
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank suparutendo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2012

My husband and I stayed at this resort from 8/2-8/6/12. We were greeted in the lobby with a cold towel and beverage. The property is gorgeous! The ocean, however, is not as clear at this location nor is the beach as clean (this is the only reason I rated location and cleanliness lower). There is alot of seaweed accumulation. The staff is out there everyday though cleaning it up. It only took about 15 minutes to arrive here from Punta Cana Airport.

We resided in a junior suite ocean view room. The room was nice! We even had a walk in closet. The instructions on the safe are not correct. If you choose to use it, someone will come and assist you. We thought it was broke but it wasn't. There was a big Palm tree outside the balcony that blocked some of the view. You can see the ocean to the left and right of it, but not very well head on.

Toured the property to see what it looked like on the other end where the Castle is located and discovered that it wasn't even occupied. Was later informed that it's only open during their peak season. Please verify what these months are but it's somewhere around October thru March. This is where the spa, the Wok restaurant, and 5th swimming pool(that appears to wrap aroung some of the Castle), is located...none of which was open during our stay. I did notice 2 or 3 tables set up for massages on the beach by the Suites where we resided.

There are only 2 restaurants open [at the most] on any given day. One day the Blue Marlin was open for all three meals. They use the same menu that is used at the Casa Bella. The Steak house has a nice, intimate setting. I don't recall there being a 5th restaurant. If you see the initials ITBS on your receipt (or something like that at the bottom) that means gratuity is included. I asked a waiter and that's what I was told. I did not purchase an all inclusive(AI) package but read others reviews who did and they seemed to have gotten receipts also. We ended up saving money because it costs $250 per night. I used to think you had to purchase these AI packages up front but you don't. After dining the first night and and looking over the prices, we didn't think we would reach $250 so we stuck with non inclusive.

Check the daily newsletter for where to dine and what activities are taking place that day. You will be given one upon your arrival and on your last day. You can obtain the others from the concierge desk.

Spanish Lessons are offered on the beach around 10:30 for 1/2 hour with Rocky Balboa. He swears that's his real name. LOL I speak very little Spanish, so lucky for me the staff is bilingual. There were only about 2 people I didn't communicate with as well. We figured it out though. LOL

There is no Casino on site. There is a building that has the words Casino printed on the windows but there is none.

There are 3 pools on the lower level near the beach. There is 1 infinity pool outside the Love Bar on the top level. Aside from my husband and I, I never noticed anyone in this pool. The one it flows into below, hardly had anyone in it also. Most of the guests hang out by the main pool where the swim up bar is.

I could have sworn that I read on this site that this hotel was Adults Only but there were a few children there. I saw babies thru teenagers.

You can book tours thru the hotel if you like.

There is a Guest computer in the lobby, across from the Concierge desk, that you can use to check emails, print boarding passes,etc.

If this is your first time traveling to the DR, you might be unaware that you have to purchase a $10 tourist card. I called the airport ahead of time to see if I could purchase one anywhere and the customer service rep kept thinking I was talking about a Visa. So, to my knowledge we can't purchase them ahead of time here in the USA, nor do they give them out on the plane. When you arrive at the DR airport, you will get in the line that is for individuals who don't already have this card. After you purchase it, you will enter the line to go thru customs. Before you reach the counter, another individual will be waiting to take the card right back.

Please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Mrs T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Level Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2012

I've stayed here in the beginning of June with my husband, for 4 nights, and although the hotel is really beautiful, there are some things that need improvement. The reception, the waiters, the service overall need to be more attentive to the guests. At check in we had this horrible experience, that the host was trying to make us purchase a room upgrade, and she wouldn't tell us the price until we've looked at all the room options. Well, we did see amazing rooms, but we were pretty tired from the 8 hour flight, and if she had only tell us the it would cost additional $500 per night (!) we wouldn't have bothered. The food is really good, but the drinks need to be more elaborated (they had different types of drinks, and I've tried a lot, but they all had the same sugar taste). And they made us sign all the bills, for each and every drink, which we came to know, was for tips purpose, but still, very annoying. Besides that, it is a very beautiful place, with an amazing pool! I recommend, but don't expect 5 star service quality.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Heloisa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
99 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2012

I just stayed here July 28 for 5 days. It is definately one of the most gorgeous places Ive stayed. We arrived early so room wasnt ready yet. We ate lunch at the Blue Marlin with the most gorgeous view and I was so excited to walk around this gorgeous resort. Our room was ready. We were booked in the "Castle". Very excited about that. The castle was closed. We were not informed of this. Our room was still great. It did have a very musty odor which we didnt notice after the first day but the sofa smelled awful. We never sat on it so didnt notice that either. Just bring Fabreeze and you'll be fine. We discovered the casino was closed. VERY dissappointed in that. Was told its been closed for 2 yrs. They still have it on their map which we looked at before booking. There are 5 restaurants. One of them was closed and the two of them was the same restaurant just changed names from breakfast to dinner. Only one open each night. Same place open for lunch each day. So dining got kinda repeticious. Wanted to go to the Marina. From what I could tell by advertising was the hilite of the area. With all kinds of shopping and restaurants. NOTHING there. No stores, nothing has gone in it yet. Very beautiful and we enjoyed walking but sooo dissappointed. Found out the closest shopping was an $80 cab ride away. The area is like a ghost town. The staff was great. Wait staff sooo nice and fun and will go out of their way to help you. The beach is gorgeous. Nothing in sight. So...the place is gorgeous, great staff. If you want to be away from everything with noone and nothing in sight then this is the place for you. Total relaxation, comfortable chairs and many laying out options all over with great tripical drinks. We just didnt realize how secluded it was and kinda got dissappointed that we couldnt walk the town, shop or sight see. Had I known before hand I could definately go for this kind of vacation as well. I really would love to see this place do well because it is sooo nice. There are excursions available.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank luvacationing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfax Station, Virginia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2012

Traveled with one of the other reviewers on this site. I agree that there were both good and bad aspects. The property is beautiful and the staff is wonderfuly attentive and friendly. But, it was so obviouls that some had no clue about their jobs or what was going on. It was a major production just to book one tee-time at a golf course. The young ladies at the conceirge desk were too young and inexperienced and did not know their venues at all. But they were sweet, and all smiles, and wanted to be helpful. There is no shopping nearby, so don't even try it. The restaurant food is so-so, but the ambiance is nice. The entertainment is amusing and the staff works hard to make it fun, but it is not high-star caliber. We loved the all-inclusive aspect and so we are not sure if we will be back because it is no longer offered. I can only hope that Ms. Johnson will get this place up to the standards I know she holds and that it will be the fabulous resort that it can be.

Room Tip: The villas are lovely but can be a bit musty. The view from any room or villa is beautiful so you c...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Barranda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2012

To provide context for my review, my wife and I are in our late 30's, have two kids and have traveled throughout the Caribbean and Mexico (stayed at Excellence resorts, Palace resorts, Sandals, etc.).

I remembered reading about this resort a few years ago and thinking it looked great. We ended up going to another island, but when we decided to visit Punta Cana I tried to find it again and then read about how it was no longer a Secrets resort but a "Salamander Resort". Below are my thoughts:

Location: Can't beat the proximity to the airport. 10 minute drive if the driver is pushing it; 20 minute drive if he is coasting. Either way...it is very close and convenient.

Hotel grounds: Very nice. Compared to a standard hotel you would see in the states, it blows them away. The buildings/architecture/pools were incredible; definitely in the highest tier of luxury resorts in the Caribbean. The grounds/landscaping was solid; you can tell that they are relatively well-maintained but at the same time since the place is not at full occupancy (see below) there are areas that may not be getting as much attention; not to say they are rundown or poorly maintained, just not as manicured or as "over-the-top" as other areas. Bottomline, the resort passes the "post card test" (i.e. any picture you take could easily be turned into a post card - the place is that nice).

Rooms: We upgraded to one of the suites with a private pool. It was great. Plenty of room, great views. We have stayed in a few nicer rooms, but that does not take away from how happy we were. Room service was fine; nothing extraordinary but it was adequate and delivered with a smile. Fridge with drinks was a bit sparse, but I suppose we could have asked for more drinks; we didn't, but I am betting if we did they would have brought them. No snacks (other hotels have had this), but again, we didn't ask and if we had I am sure they would have brought them. Same with bottles of liquor; none in the room, but if we asked, I am sure they would have brought some. So...yeah...the room was great, and could have been even better if we really wanted it to be.

Restaurants/Bars: The food was fine. Some meals were better than others. Nothing blew us away. Nothing was awful. We have eaten in "nicer looking" restaurants in some of the other resorts we have been to (Excellence Playa Mujeres comes to mind), but I certainly didn't have an issue with the restaurants at Sanctuary. The service was decent; nothing over the top and nothing that would come across as rude. The liquor was what i consider top shelf by all-inclusive standards (e.g., grey Goose vodka, etc.)....I'll get to the number of restaurants in a moment.

Pools/Beach: A surprising number of pools, more than I thought would be there (btw, the website does an awful job of showing how nice the resort is, it definitely shortsells it by not showing enough pictures); very picturesque...most of them empty. The main pool had a swim up bar; the bartenders were good (entertaining and attentive). The beach was OK; great sand, the water was aqua blue, not very big but adequate and we weren't looking to go for beach walks anyway (if this is something you wanted to do, apparently you could do so south of the resort, but if you NEED to have a nice big beach at your resort, this would be a negative for the resort)

Occupancy/Activities/Nightlife/Spa/Shopping: Outside of the main pool area and whichever single restaurant was open for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this place was a ghost town (and even at the main pool and the restaurants, it was never remotely crowded). If you are looking for nightlife or like meeting new people on your vacation, this probably isn't the right place for you right now; maybe we went during the beginning of hurricane/off season, but from the reviews, the occupancy issue has been a problem for months. The "activities team" scheduled things to do throughout the day but from what I could tell, no one showed up or if they did there were too few people to actually do anything. We also checked out the spa; again beautiful facilities; barely anyone there...and by barely anyone there I mean it was us and the two or so people working there. It was also in the fortress which, other than a few suites on the top floors, was completely empty and the lights in the hallways were off. It was VERY eerie, but in some ways, we actually kind of liked it (no we are not creepy, I'll explain below). Also, if you like browsing shops, they have a bunch of them; naturally, most are empty or closed. And yes....their casino is not open either.

Bottomline: I am not sure what they are doing to keep people away, but it is sad. The resort has so many things going for it (location, suites galore, beautiful buildings/grounds/pools, etc.) BUT, we knew it would be like this before we got there. We were looking to relax, read, have some drinks and basically disconnect from everything else rather than hang out and "make new friends". We weren't looking to engage in poolside activities, we weren't looking to go an excursions (which we could have, we just didn't). Other trips we have taken, we have sought out a more Vegas-type atmosphere of non-stop action. And there have been other times where we weren't looking to necessarily party, but it just felt nice to either watch or be near the action (Jamaica/Bahamas/Cancun are great examples of this). This wasn't one of those times. So for us, we loved it. We felt like we had the resort to ourselves. When put in that perspective, it was amazing. There were times we were the only ones being served by the bartender poolside on top of the fortress as we looked out at the ocean and relaxed. I feel bad for people who head there expecting anything different because you will absolutely be disappointed. This should be a 5-Star resort on facilities and rooms alone, but, given the effects of the unbelievably low occupancy, it is currently operating at a 4 or 4.5-star level. Not a knock against the people working the desk, restaurants, bars, etc. - they are fine. This is a knock against whoever is promoting the property.

Room Tip: "If you are trying to be somewhat cost-conscious, book lowest price room and pay for upgrade up...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank InterestedTraveler40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Punta Cana
2.6 mi away
AlSol Tiara Cap Cana
AlSol Tiara Cap Cana
#24 of 110 in Punta Cana
4.5 of 5 bubbles 1,706 reviews
0.5 mi away
Alsol Del Mar
Alsol Del Mar
#46 of 110 in Punta Cana
4.5 of 5 bubbles 934 reviews
36.1 mi away
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
14.4 mi away
Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana
1.0 mi away
Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa
Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa
#9 of 110 in Punta Cana
4.5 of 5 bubbles 958 reviews
2.6 mi away
Alsol Luxury Village
Alsol Luxury Village
#87 of 110 in Punta Cana
4.5 of 5 bubbles 3,232 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Luxury 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, BookIt.com, Travelocity, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Booking.com, Hotwire, Evoline ltd, getaroom.com, Cancelon, Cheap Tickets, Priceline, HotelQuickly, TripOnline SA and Hotel.de so you can book your Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Sanctuary Cap Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing