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“more work than a vacation”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts
Ranked #30 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed February 17, 2013

This was more of a hassel than a relaxing vacation. My gf got a call two days before we were supposed to leave saying that they over booked the hotel and wanted to move us to a different hotel instead. I have a feeling it had something to do with the deal they had going on groupon that caused us to be bumped from our room. We ended up going the next week instead and they upgraded us to a honeymoon villa suite for no extra charge. When we went to check in they tried to tell us that it was not all inclusive until we asked to speak to the manager Hector who then assured us it was. They initially told us we would be staying in room 1028 then switched it to 1027. The second night there I was woken up by my gf at 4 am telling me she just saw two men in the room. When I got up to look I saw a golf cart with two men in it turning around when I confronted them they did not speak english very well and kept saying front desk. When I came back into the room my gf was on the phone with the front desk apologizing saying it was a mistake and that they were sorry. For the rest of the trip my gf did not feel safe sleeping and kept waking up in the middle of the night thinking someone was trying to get in, she couldnt even get a good nights sleep on vacation. I went to the front desk to talk to Hector the next day and told him what happened and he apologized and told me he would send over a bottle of champagne to our room which never came. The language barrier with the staff can be a problem at times as well. The one bright spot was the spa. The staff was very friendly and the services were excellent. We were given a $200 credit for them messing up our original vacation week which we used for the spa. When I checked out the spa total was $170 and other items purchased at the mini market were $28. Hector told me the spa was taken care of and my total was $28, I was not thinking at the time and just payed the $28 because I just wanted to get out of there and go home. I should have been comped the $28 a well under the $200 credit but, its a lesson learned on my part. Our flight ended up getting canceled and when I called Hector to see if there was anything he could do for us regarding and room for the night he wanted to charge me $240/pp and acted like he was giving me a deal when if reality he should have gave us a free night for all the trouble we went through. The airline ended up putting us up at the Melia Caribe Tropical, the resort is massive and I highly suggest staying there. They have great food,a club and a casino(cap cana advertises having a casino when in fact the workers told us it was closed down). If you do decide to go to cap cana anyway be sure to see Alex in the cigar shop, he was extremely nice and took good care of us. If I had to do it again I would def stay at Melia and actually enjoy my vacation instead of constantly trying to fix problems. -Greg

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Greg W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Angela T, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded February 20, 2013

Thank you for your review. I am so sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience at Sanctuary Cap Cana. It is never our intentions for any of our guest to have any misfortunes while on vacation. We currently had a change of management and are working closely with staff to guarantee proper services are being conducted. Our management team main priority is the guest. We hope you will visit us again and see the improvement.

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3,483 - 3,489 of 4,997 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2013

Comfortable suites surrounded by well maintained gardens and beautiful beach. Food is excellent. Staff is professional and friendly. Beach is good. Water sports limited. Nearest town is about ten minutes by taxi away.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank John R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Angela T, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded February 21, 2013

I would like to thank you for your positive comments regarding your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana. We feel proud and grateful for your compliments on the efforts and dedication demonstrated by our staff. . At Sanctuary Cap Cana it is our pleasure to service our guest with the finest hospitality. We want to guarantee a vacation that will be unforgettable. Please tell your friends about our hotel. We certainly look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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Reviewed February 10, 2013

We never write reviews but after having our wedding at Sanctuary in Cap Cana, we felt compelled to do so. I have to say we could not be happier with our experience. My husband and I just had a wedding with 100 guests in Jan and each of them said it was the best wedding they ever attended. Our experience was seamless all the way from planning a year in advance up to the day of events we hosted. The wedding coordinators, Kary Gomez and Victoria Mendoza are literally the dream team. Our main contact for all events hosted was Kary Gomez and she was an absolute pleasure to work with. She went above and beyond to make sure every event we planned went off without a hitch. She clearly knows how to plan big events and weddings as all of the the events we hosted (three in total) were high end and the demands we had for each event were met. We were just SO impressed with their service and execution. Aside from being able to put together our desired wedding she handled EVERYTHING else we needed through out our stay. Not once, as a bride and groom, did we feel worried about anything going on around us thanks to Kary. She really deserves a HUGE thank you for that as it really made everything just so much more amazing to know we had her there for anything we needed.

Aside from our wedding, clearly our guests were also there to vacation. I have to say this is one of the best vacations we have ever been on. The rooms are beautiful, food ALL around the hotel is incredible and the Sanctuary staff is absolutely amazing. Everyone of their employees are always smiling and happy to help with any of your needs. The bartenders at the pool were incredible as well as they made our daytime stay exciting, fun and just all around memorable. Carlos, Bernando, Teddy and pool bar staff are absolutely the friendliest staff we have ever met and we sincerely enjoyed getting to know them. All of our guests could not stop raving about how beautiful the property was. It is very secluded so we felt like we were on our own little island.

You know a hotel is amazing when It was tough for us (and our guests) to leave at the end. Actually, many of our guests who left on Monday after the wedding tried to change their flights to stay another 2 nights! We mean it when we say this is the first time we are walking away from a vacation with out having one negative thing to say.

Event Details:

Welcome Drinks - Ocean Bar in the Castle
Rehearsal Dinner - Off site at the Fishing Lodge Hotel
Wedding Ceremony - Trump Beach
Wedding Cocktail Hour - Seaview Terrace off the castle
Wedding Reception - Blue Marlin Restaurant

Thank you to the Sanctuary for being one of the best hotels in the DR with the most incredible staff. If you are looking to have your wedding in destination please consider the Sanctuary. You will have not ONE regret, only amazing memories of a perfectly executed wedding.


Kristen and Chris.

Room Tip: All of our guests stayed in the Junior Ocean Suites, they were beautiful! They are spacious and all...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank KristenDepat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Angela T, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2013

Congratulations on your wedding and thank you for trusting Sanctuary Cap Cana to deliver a memorable wedding. We are pleased to hear that the friendly staff, attracting atmosphere, stress-free setting, and food were just enough to satisfy your desires. We here at Sanctuary Cap Cana are here to service our guest and exceed their expectations. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us online. I will share your feedback with the entire team. We certainly look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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Reviewed February 8, 2013

Research & Booking:
We looked a lot of resorts for our honeymoon before settling in on this one. The numerous positive reviews on trip advisor drew us to this particular resort, and true to the reviews, it was a lovely resort. We booked the junior oceanfront room, but later upgraded to a Monarch Oceanfront Villa for a little extra.

Room:
The view of the ocean from our bedroom was breathtaking and it was really convenient to have direct access to the beach from our patio. During the night we spent some time on the lounge chairs in the patio gazing at the stars and listening to the waves. It was a truly relaxing vacation in a lovely resort.

Food:
The restaurants were all pretty good, although not all of them were open everyday. Casa Bella was open for breakfast everyday and the food there was pretty good. We were served fresh juice every morning at breakfast and there was an omelette bar, which was our favorite. Blue Marlin had great views and awesome food. Hibachi at The Wok hibachi was delicious. We saw the Superbowl at the Love Bar, it’s a good place to hang out after dinner.

Service:
The service was great and all the staff was very friendly. They did everything they could to make our stay pleasant. All of them spoke/understood English and they were very prompt in getting us whatever we had asked for. On the very first day at the resort, we had asked for coconut water and our server went over to the pool area and got us fresh coconuts from the tree.

Resort, beaches and pools:
The resort was not crowded and there was plenty of space for everyone to lounge on the beach. There were plenty of activities planned everyday, but not many people took part in them due to low occupancy. All the beaches (2 in the resort and awesome Juanillo beach right next door) were really good, with turquoise waters. We rented kayaks at Juanillo beach, which were complimentary to anyone staying at Sanctuary Cap Cana. Although there was a little seaweed, it was raked and removed everyday. We did not have a problem with the amount of seaweed around and it did not bother us from swimming in the ocean. The pools were pretty empty too and on most days we would have the whole pool to ourselves. This is a great resort if you are looking for a relaxing time and a lot of privacy.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank cutewings
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Angela T, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded February 15, 2013

Congratulations on your new marriage! Since undergoing new management we have been working closely with our staff to make certain our guest receives the highest level of service. I am very pleased to read your appraisal of our team, services and facilities and I know my colleagues will be equally pleased to learn of your kind remarks and recognition of their efforts to meet your needs.Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback of Sanctuary Cap Cana. We invite you back and perhaps we can host your 1st wedding anniversary!

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Reviewed February 8, 2013

We have spent 13 days in the Sanctuary Cap Cana. The location of the hotel is top. Cap Cana is a newly discovered part of the Punta Cana. The hotel is located nearby the beautiful Juanillo beach and is away from other hotels which makes the stay very peaceful, comfortable and safe. The hotel is surrounded by huge colourfull gardens, which are carefully maintanced.
The pluses:
- the rooms with private pools, all with excellent views over the ocean.
- the managers' job - it is nice to see how the Managers are involved in their jobs - Top managers: Hector Alfaro, Enrique Ventura - thanks a lot for your assistance and care! But also mid level managers do their best - coaching the staff to offer always best service.
- the food: good choice for breakfast (however some nuts and wholewheat bread would be appreciated), there are always 2 or 3 restaurants opened for lunch and 2 for dinner (everyday different ones - and they offer Meditarenian, Asian, Italian and Dominican food).
Minuses:
- some of the rooms need to be refreshed, some of them should have the names changes from junior suite to a standard room, but as far as we know they are going to finalize the renovation process of the older part till the end of the year. Note, that generally the whole hotel is quite new (5-6 years).
- some of the waiters and room service operators speak hardly English, which sometimes is really annoying. The point is that while some of them speak English and are professional, some of them do not speak a word in English - and the hotel seem to improve the training of the staff, but probably some of the staff is just not interested in taking any benefit out of this...

Generally, we are very satisfied.

Malgosia & Marcin

Room Tip: Higher floor rooms have excellent views over the ocean.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Malgorzata_Marcin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Angela T, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded February 9, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to let us know your feedback about your recent stay at our hotel. We are so thrilled to hear you enjoyed your stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana. At Sanctuary Cap Cana it is our pleasure to service our guest with the finest hospitality. I will share your feedback with the entire team and especially Hector and Enrique. They love knowing when guest appreciates there service. We certainly look forward to welcoming you back in the very near future.

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Reviewed February 8, 2013

Let me qualify myself by saying my husband and I have done about 20 all inclusives in the Caribbean - always five star or better and 5 cruises also 5 star so I guess what I am trying to say is I am not easily impressed. This trip was truly amazing with only a few minor flaws.It was not without a good deal of research that I choose SCC. Last year we stayed at Zoetry in Mexico so I originally was going to stay at Zoetry in Punta Cana but after talking to many people on facebook and following Trip Advisor chose SCC ...best decision ever. We booked an oceanview junior suite but were kindly upgraded to a Honeymoon suite oceanfront with a plunge pool. We hardly ever left the room as the view was absolutely stunning from our huge deck....the grounds are immaculate and the whole resort is just so peaceful. We were there Jan. 28-Feb. 4 and it was less then half full. I just can't understand why??? The Blue Marlin and the Italian restaurants were our favorites because they were both outside with great views. Not so fond of the steak house as it was inside and overall the food was good but not great. (if you want great food go on a cruise) The Casa Bella for breakfast was really good with lots of papaya and passion fruit and great omelets. We also has a romantic dinner on the beach and this was truly well worth the $99 US.This meal included a bottle of champagne. I even invented my own drink instead of Mimosas I had champagne with passion fruit juice ...delicious.The house wine from Argentina was awful but when I mentioned it the next day to Enrique I had a couple of of other options for the rest of my trip and generally I found any minor issues I had were taken care of promptly. My go to person was Enrique and he was extremely helpful. The biggest issue I had was a number of the wait staff had very poor English and this was quite frustrating at times. I cannot comment on the night life as we did not go. This hotel is not for everyone as it is very quiet but was perfect for us as we had an amazing holiday and will definitely be returning. Thanks again to Enrique and all the staff for making this holiday perfect.

Room Tip: we had a honeymoon beachfront room in the castle 3042 it was stunning had a plunge pool and a huge...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank maggitoronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Angela T, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded February 9, 2013

I would like to thank you for your positive comments regarding your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana. I am very pleased to read your appraisal of our team, services and facilities and I know my colleagues will be equally pleased to learn of your kind remarks and recognition of their efforts to meet your needs.Please tell your friends about our hotel. We certainly look forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

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Reviewed February 8, 2013

My wife and I are seasoned travelers.We have visited most of the islands in the Caribbean.The sanctuary has a lot going for it, but unfortunately, the food service and the lack of language proficiency brings it down a notch. Accommodations and amenities.If you can get a Honeymoon suite,it is well worth it.#s 3044-3047. I recommend 3047 because of its much larger deck and incredible view.All have their own pools.(not heated)..Negotiate the upgrade.3047 also has a good breeze that helps on hot days.They are located in the Fortress area , about 4-5 minutes walk from the main building.This area is quiet and serene. Located in the same area is a pool ,bar Wok restaurant, spa and fitness center. The fitness center has 3 treadmills,3 ellipticals,2 bicycles,barbells,weight machines and 2 tvs. Oceanview rooms. We looked at one that had a very limited viwe of the ocean almost blocked by a building in front of of i.It had dated furniture and a clorox,musky odor.Oceanfront.These rooms are identical to ocean view except for location with a less obstructed view of the ocean. However, people constantly walking by in front of the unit limits your privacy. Pools. If you want quiet, go to the pool at the fortress.The other pools at the main area are good size but not heated and the water clarity was average at best.Beach.Small and some areas covered with algae or seaweed.Not ideal for snorkelling or swimming. Casin. Closed ,but transportation is proved to one nearby. Shopping.A few stores on site with decent prices.Nearby retail shopping is almost nonexistent. Nearest shopping is 30-45 minutes taxi ride. Negotiate taxi fare before going and make sure the driver doesnt leave without you. Food and drink services.Food quality was average for an all inclusive. The major problem we encountered was the language barrier which resulted in many incorrect orders. Ordering mixed drinks had similar outcomes.Wine and beer selections were very limited. Expect to pay 50$ for a decent bottle of wine.The steakhouse restaurant.Serves charbroiled Argentine steaks.Ribeye was not as tasty as the tenderloin. Prawns were actually medium to large shrimp.Flavored cheesecakes were New York style slightly dry with a flavored syrup on the side. Casa bella. Breakfast and lunch. Self serve buffet with cooked to order omelet and eggs station.Both breakfast and lunch selections were average.Blue Marlin. Nice location over the water. Grouper sandwich average. Snapper was overcooked. Wok restaurant. Oriental restaurant located at Fortress area. Serves hibachi and al a carte with limited sushi selection.Shrimp and steak very good at hibachi table(make reservations for hibachi).Bananas flambe tasty but without any flame. Other notes. Menus at restaurants do not change.Tip. If you like to drink, get the all inclusve package. If not try to opt out as the prices are very reasonable.

Room Tip: Get room 3047. It is worth the upgrade.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank traveldocsx2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Angela T, Guest Relations Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded February 9, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback of Sanctuary Cap Cana. We currently had a change of management and are working closely with staff to guarantee proper services are being conducted. We thoroughly clean our rooms upon check out and complete a full inspection. Regarding our menus, we are reworking some of our menu options. We continually try to do our very best for all of our guests. We appreciate your feedback, and hope you give us the chance to make it right.

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Additional Information about Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts

Address: Boulevard Zona Hotelera, Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana 0809, Dominican Republic (Formerly Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol)
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:
#13 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#27 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#28 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#29 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $372 - $822 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts 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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