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“Caribbean Bliss @ Sanctuary Cap Cana”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #36 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed September 10, 2012

We loved, loved, loved our vacation at the Sanctuary inside the wonderful Cap Cana resort community. We did not want to leave…….. This is the most beautiful Beach Resort we have visited at and we have traveled a lot all over the Caribbean, Central America, North America, Hawaii, Mexico (Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel and 29x Riviera Maya), Europe and North Africa. We certainly can compare. The Architecture with attention to detail, interior design and the pools are the best we have encountered in our years of travel. And the location adjacent to Playa Juanillo is breathtaking. They take you with a golf cart shuttle to their section of the beach but it is also an easy walk. What we loved most is that we were ALONE there on our 2 lounge chairs under a tall palm tree and the kayak most of the time. Some days a few people would be around but it was very private and amazing for us. This beach is got to be one of the most beautiful in the Dominican Republic due to lack of development around it and well groomed (not much sea grass, no trash). Long stretch of white powder soft sand, lots of tall palm trees and the ocean is crystal clear and bright turquoise. I wish I could be on that beach every day. There are actually 3 beaches at the resort. The beach in front of the main pool is a bit rocky but you can walk in well on the very right side in front of the large stone villa and it’s a nice spot to cool off when the ocean is calm.
Than there is another cove with better beach to the right of there where most of the Monarch Villas are located at. And Playa Juanillo is adjacent to the Fortress section of the resort. And the pools at the resort are the most beautiful. Once with swim-up bar and lagoon style limestone rocks, the other with tall water fall and we were usually alone in there and another on top of the waterfall pool with infinity edge. We thought the small pool with ping pong table inside was genius. There is another interesting pool with bar in the Fortress section but it was drained for maintenance. We walked through this section and explored it one night at Full Moon and again it has the WOW factor. It would have looked even more amazing if the swim up canal and all pools would have been filled. There are some amazing suites over there with private pools and some even with a private island and beach bed connected by a bridge to the terrace. Really something special. We stayed non-all inclusive in the least expensive room category the Superior Ocean View Suite for 4 days. Our Suite was on the second floor (top floor) of the yellow building next to the lobby building. We had a nice view of the gorgeous main pool, tropical gardens and the ocean. Our suite was large and very nicely furnishes with tasteful colonial décor in soft light colors and nice lighting. The king bed and pillows where comfortable but we could have used a softer pillow topper like they have at JW Marriott. Large terrace with nice wooden furniture to lounge on. My husband even got excited about the large walk in closet next to the nice limestone tiles bathroom. It had nicer dark wooden shelving than our walk-in closets at home. The bathroom had a separate toilet area with glass door, a decent size shower, good size bathtub and double sinks. The whole suite has this amazing limestone tile on the floors, counters and bathroom walls. I want that at home now. The lobby has a WOW factor. On arrival we felt like you have arrived at some large colonial Hacienda with a Fortress next door. Even so this is a fairly new resort they re-created historic Spanish colonial charm. There are fountains every where inside the lobby and outside. The stone work, wood work, architectural touches, furniture and tasteful art is perfect. Very friendly and efficient Bell Service and check-in with a welcome cocktail. We loved the service overall at this resort. From Bell Boys, Room Service, Maids, Front Desk to the wonderful waiters and the sweet Blue Marlin Restaurant Manager. The General Manager even stopped by our table to ask if we were pleased with everything. We really loved the employees at this resort. They made us feel special and they were so sweet. Ask for the special fish at the Blue Marlin Restaurant perched over the ocean with Palapa Roof. It’s called Labranch (not sure how to spell it) They caught our big fish the day we ate it right in front of the restaurant and prepared it Dominican style. It was so large that they made a wonderful dinner and lunch out of it. Now this is exactly what we want on a Caribbean vacation. All other meals and drinks were great. Since we were not on the AI plan we went to the Caleton Beach and Villas – Las Palapas Restaurant one night. The chef is from Parma, Italy and we had the best seafood linguini loaded with fresh seafood and wonderful tuna tartar appetizer. Atmosphere and service here were outstanding and Caleton is also an amazingly beautiful place. Another time we went for breakfast to the Bistro Restaurant at the Fishing Lodge at Cap Cana Marina. Again very good and interesting seeing that area. Very pretty Marina and very new. It is still very quiet there but with time this will be an amazing place. What we really liked is that you get free shuttle service to anywhere within Cap Cana and it is a large beautiful resort community. We highly recommend exploring the Cueva Hoyo Azul. A short walk through the jungle on the foot of the Cap Cana cliffs is this open cave with a beautiful crystal clear turquoise lagoon to swim in. We were alone with our guide and it was a very special & peaceful place. We split our 9 day vacation between 2 resorts 4 days at Sanctuary and 5 days at an Adults only resort in the Bavaro beach area since we were concerned that children would disturb the romantic, peaceful ambiance at the Sanctuary but we got lucky and there were no children during out stay. We wished we could have cancelled the other resort and stayed the whole time at Sanctuary. To bad Salamander did not keep the resort “Adults Only” because this is a very romantic, special resort and noisy, squirrely kids and stressed parents would sure change the feel of everything. The resort was only about 20-30% full but everyone we spoke to was very happy and pleased with everything. This was already the 3rd visit for a nice couple we met. And a hello to our new friends from Sao Paulo Brazil! Overall I highly recommend this resort and have no idea where some of the bad reviews came from besides that the Fortress section is closed during low season and there are only 2 restaurants open for the AI package people. On departure I could see out of the plane that the pools at the Fortress have been filled with water and we were told that the section will be open for high season starting in November maybe sooner. We are considering a return to the Sanctuary to celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2014. I miss this resort already! If you have reservations here have a wonderful time!!!!

Room Tip: Most suites have ocean views but ask for a second or 3rd floor unless you are in an ocean front of M...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Munichchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 8, 2012

Overall my Wife and I had a pleasant stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana. The staff was very friendly and the customer service was excellent. We found the food and drink quality generally good, although the lack of restaurant choices was extremely disappointing. In fact I think this information and the fact 1/2 the resort is actually shut down is something any guest would want to know. Not doing so is deceptive and misleading. We would have appreciated this information as it may have caused us to pick another resort.

Clearly there is something missing at the Sanctuary Cap Cana. The resort is absolutely beautiful, the architecture of the buildings is amazing, the price point competitive, the traveler reviews are excellent and the location is close to the airport. What's missing? During our stay we were informed that there were just 25 guests staying at the resort. We met another couple who have stayed here before and said there were only 8 people the last time they visited. Anyway, I hope the resort survives and prospers as it is truly a unique place.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank TEXASBMW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2012

If you are looking for rest, relaxation, great food, excellent service, cleanliness, this is the resort for you. Cannot say enough about the Sanctuary. Went for a week with my family.

The best part had to be the people at the resort, such attentiveness - servers at the beach walking around to make sure you had a drink or snack of your choice, they even brought lunch to your cabana on the beach if you wanted. The servers in the restaurant, knowing your preferred table, food choices, drinks and topping things up, without even asking them to do so. So friendly and caring with big smiles, it was such a joy to be there.

The resort itself is huge, but so peaceful and quiet, some soft caribbean tunes ringing out from the pool bar, with the bar guys singing along. Early in the morning the workers were cleaning every inch of the resort, the guys on the beach raking up the seaweed. The beach was rocky on one side but sandy on the other side. My family discovered a second beach at the other end of the resort that was all sandy and perfect. Tons of pools, the natural pool with the pool bar, the infinity pool, the watefall pool, the pool with a table tennis table right in it (particular favourite of my nephews). Plenty of lounge chairs by the pool and beach no need to reserve, comfortable cabanas with mattresses on the beach, perfect spot for a siesta in the afternoon.

The rooms were spotless, cleaning staff 2-3 times a day in the rooms cleaning, making the beds, changing towels, stocking the fridges. Wow! The mattresses and pillows were so comfortable.

The restaurants, while there that week, they only had two open: The blue marlin, spectacular setting as the restaurant sits over the water, and the steak house. The menus of the closed restaurants were additionally served at the open restaurants so variety was there. What I liked was everything was made fresh, no buffets for those that like those, everything is ala carte, but you order the different courses, and more. I loved the food, the quantities and the way it was prepared. B,fasts went on from 6-11, lunch from 12-4:30 dinner from 6-11, so no need to rush our meals. The drinks too were international brands, cocktails not watered down, nice wines and champagne by the glass offered anytime. As my family stayed on for an additional week, they opened the other restaurants.

The minute I got there I felt relaxed and each day i became more relaxed, at the end of the week I really did not want to leave. Just the right elements in balance to make my vacation perfect. A big thank you to all the staff at the Sanctuary. I will definitely return for another holiday.

Room Tip: I would stay on the resort side, as the rooms are in close proximity to the pools, beach and restaur...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank habari28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2012 via mobile

But half of the resort was closed. So only had 2 restaurants so not much to chose from food was really good though over all good place just check to see whats open be for you pay full price for half the resort.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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3  Thank airjer2u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

My wife and I just returned from a week-long vacation at The Sanctuary, Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. Let it first be known that we are seasoned travelers ... this was not our first vacation of this sort. As always, we did our research prior to booking. We read all of the reviews, and explored several similar resorts in the DR. Since we were looking for a very private, non-commercial tropical location, we chose The Sanctuary. In one word, let me share our opinion of this resort ... EXCELLENTE!

I am absolutely amazed at some of the negative reviews we read, prior to going to The Sanctuary. We found NONE of the negative comments to be true. People who write anything other than spectacular reviews about this place are, well ... JERKS! We were upgraded to "The Palace", upon our arrival at the resort ... the absolute finest facility on the property! It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, suite overlooking the entire resort! It was built with hand-laid stone, and was spotless upon our arrival. We had a private balcony, just outside the spacious living area, that literally looked out over the entire beach and main pool area of the resort. In addition, we had a private veranda that was as large, square-footage, as the entire suite! It was inclusive of a LARGE private hot tub, that was well-used all week! We had a breakfast "tower" on our veranda, where we shared INCREDIBLE, open-air breakfasts each morning of our stay. Words do not even come close to describing how pleased we were with our lodging facilities.

The food? I do not know where the negative-nerds ate while they were there, but we found every restaurant to be extremely clean, extremely comfortable, and the food was EXTREMELY high quality! From seafood, to steak, to Chinese food, to Italian food, to a wide variety "nic-nak" foods, we did not put a single thing in our mouths that was not pleasing to the palate! I would categorize most of what we ate to be better than most foods we are served in the best restaurants in America! And the "average" stuff was, in our book, above average! And if we wanted something that they weren't serving at that particular meal, the staff would prepare it with joy! Which brings me to the best part of our trip.

The staff at The Sanctuary was FIRST CLASS! We did not meet a single person that was evasive or unfriendly. Every single person that served us, did so with a genuine smile on their face, willing to go out of their way to ensure that we have everything we wanted or needed. It was an absolute joy to interact with these people. And you can be assured that we did not take this for granted! We tipped WELLLLL! Three people deserve special mention ...

Carlos, the bartender in the pool bar (The Freschas) was world-class! His ever-happy spirit, along with his desire to serve, was exceptional. In the main resort restaurant (The Blue Marlin), Juan, the head waiter, was also world class! After the first day, he knew us by first-name, and had "our table" ready-and-waiting at every meal that we chose to eat there. He had bread and iced-tea waiting on us when we arrived. He would see us coming, and instruct his staff to get our table ready. It was amazing! One of his waiters, another Carlos, deserves props, as well! His ever-friendly spirit was extremely refreshing each time we ate at The Blue Marlin. I cannot say enough about these 3 gentlemen! On our last day at the resort, we discovered that Juan and his family had never been out of the DR. We have invited them to be our guests in the Texas Hill Country, giving us the opportunity to return some of the great service and friendliness that he showed us all week long!

Peaceful, clean, quiet, manicured, friendly, helpful, servant-minded, GREAT food ... these are the words that we would use to describe our experience at The Sanctuary, in Cap Cana, DR. It was a first-class resort, with first-class food, and first-class service. We will DEFINITELY be returning ... as often as possible!

Room Tip: I would HIGHLY recommend 1039 in La Forteleza, 4002 in The Palace, or 1066 among the Villas!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank Kyle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

I am a compulsive planner by nature, so going to a country I haven't been to before, I weighed myself with information and went back and forth between hotels and posted things on tripadvisor to get some guidance to help my overloaded brain. But I kept coming back to this place. The picture were just so beautiful and some of the complaints seemed silly (and they are). They ran a special and I booked our trip for the end of August.

I started emailing with the hotel about transportation from the airport since I had read numerous places that the airport can be a little bit overwhelming. Right away, the manager Jarlin, not only responded quickly and efficiently but she also soothed any looming fears I had about our choice in hotel.

I did book in The Fortress and upon arrival we were upgraded to an Ocean View room and were brought delicious welcome drinks. I had mentioned to Jarlin that the reason for our trip was my boyfriends birthday. Our upgraded room not only had a Happy Birthday sign outside the door, but had balloons all over our room with champagne and fresh fruit. I can not express how much I appreciated that personal touch for him on his special day. Through out our stay, not only were are rooms always cleaned and turned down etc, but they put different little fresh flowers in our room which I loved. Any time we had a problem, someone was there quickly to tend to it and no problem was big enough to warrant any sort of complaint.

People complaining about the seaweed on the beach, I really, I don't get that. 1) It's a beach, it happens and 2) I saw those guys out there EVERY morning with a truck and massive shovels digging and digging away to remove it. Every time we went out to the beach, it was great.

Yes, there is a bit of a language barrier, but I honestly can say that their staff not only speaks very good english but is more than willing to try and help and understand. I speak some spanish and that definitely did help but they do a great job themselves.

You always worry a little bit about food going to some where different, but their food was really really good. I certainly wish we had been able to try all of the restaurants, but I understand not going in peak season that that may not have been an option. The food that we did experience at Blue Marlin and the Steakhouse was great. We even ordered room service one night very late and they were prompt in getting it to us.

I would like to say a special shout out to certain staff members who made our stay that much better, so thank you to Jarlin, Edward, Carlos and Bernardo. For give me if I spelled anyones name wrong.

The purpose of our trip was to get away and relax. We didn't go in peak season for that reason so I expected things to be a little more toned down and we got exactly what we wanted. They do have activities and things still going on which I enjoyed watching and I can only imagine how fun that place is during peak season but for us in August, it was just right.

I do recommend bringing bug spray. While my boyfriend didn't have an issue with the bugs at all, I did. The one night I forgot to put it on and we sat outside, I had to get up and go to the room and put some on, but as long as I was covered I was fine!!!

We loved our trip and we loved your hotel. It is definitely a place we will come back and visit.

Room Tip: If you are hell bent on staying in the fortress than book when its open during peak season but if yo...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Clemsonbelle21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

First and foremost we have traveled the world over....We know bad, good and great....however this experience was outstanding!!!! The location, the reception, the service, the room, the spa, the food, and most important, the people, were the most friendly and helpful in the world. Talking about service... it was second to none...special thanks to Jarlin our host who was perfect in every way..others like Chantal, Yani, Bernard, Junior and Omar our breakfast service provider, were all a delight... When you arrive, make sure Alvin is your pool and cabana service provider, he is the best we have ever had in the world! If you want to relax, eat well and enjoy life to the fullest, Sanctuary at Cap Cana is your place - Have Fun!

Room Tip: THE ocean front rooms are the best
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank beach409
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

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
#32 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#32 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#34 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $306 - $668 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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