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“First trip to Punta Cana”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts
Ranked #30 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed April 7, 2013

My wife and I just recently returned from a 6 day stay at the Sanctuary in the DR. This was our first trip outside the US. Not knowing what to expect, we sought the advise and guidance from friends and reviews from other travelers that posted comments on Tripadvisor. I'm sharing my experiences, in hopes it will provide others with useful information.

Although we have no other travels in the DR to compare with the Sanctuary, my wife and I both loved the experience. The best attribute of the Sanctuary was the staff. They were extremely nice, respectful, and always friendly. (Special thanks to Danis Severino!). With this type of positive atmosphere, it made the Sanctuary a great place to celebrate our 20 year wedding anniversary!

I would not recommend the Sanctuary to families with young children (6 to 12). This is primarily a place for relaxing activities (which is one of the reasons why we chose this location). If your children are like ours, they would become bored rather quickly.

The variety of food is somewhat limited to what we are accustomed to here in the US. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. After the first day, we primarily ordered room service. Dinner was a different experience. All the restaurants we visited were exceptional. I do recommend the All-Inclusive plan (especially if you plan to drink or order room service).

Since one of my initial fears of traveling to a foreign country was the transportation from the airport to the hotel, I also wanted to briefly share my experiences with our transport provider, Amstar DMC. Amstar was a great selection. They were prompt on the pickup at the airport and at the hotel on our return trip. Their website was easy to use to setup the appointment.

Couple of recommendations....
1. If you are on the "All-Inclusive" plan and you want to tip the staff, take plenty of 1's, 5's, and 10's (instead of 20's, 50's, and 100's). You can always tip via the credit card but the staff always prefer cash.
2. Pack small snacks. There is a small mini-market on site but the selection is limited.
3. Enjoy the public beach adjacent to the property.

Room Tip: Castle Junior Suite Swim Out with 1 king bed. Great selection for Couples!
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank 433MarkK433
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded April 10, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments about your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

We are more than glad that you and your family had a good time in our hotel. We work hard on maintaining an atmosphere for the guest to feel welcomed and like home. It was a pleasure for our staff to serve you during your vacations. We are grateful for your kind comments about our property and our staff.

It would be our honor to receive your visit in the near future, and help you experience another memorable vacation.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,371 - 3,377 of 4,958 reviews

Reviewed April 6, 2013

I recently stayed at this fantastic property and I was extremely impressed with the quality of the property, attentive staff and talented and accessible management

Cap Cana is definitely a jewel in the Caribbean and this hotel is the crown jewel of Cap Cana and the DR

Room Tip: The web page is pretty good about it and there are many types of impressive rooms
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank 597RafaelG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2013

Thank you for sharing your comments about your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

We are delighted to know that our scenery and service created a wonderful setting for your vacations. Our staff is thrilled to know they contributed for such a memorable experience.

We certainly will be expecting you back in the near future.

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Reviewed April 6, 2013

From the moment I stepped out of the taxi I was greeted by "Santos" who opened our door, took our bags out and escorted us to the front desk. When we got there we were greeted by Brenda, Will and Alejandro who in one sync said "Welcome Home". Instantly I could see the level of customer service that was exuded from each of them, we were not only another guest but truly welcomed home. The grounds of the Sanctuary were a true gateway of perfect escape from the everyday hustle of work life, it offered majestic views of the ocean and there was even Pink Sand!! The room was immaculate, the service impeccable and the entertainment staff Teddy Bear, Ruben, Rocky and Menor made the stay very much entertaining and there was never a boring moment. Each restaurant offered amazing culinary skilled food, as a foodie I was very impressed and loved the authentic foods it offered as well as international cuisine. My Favorite was the Steakhouse and Casabella Ronnie was our server there and ensured to explain the specials and Manuel Guerrero made amazing mixed drinks both alcoholic and non alcoholic a true mixealogist and not just a bartender. At Casabella Maria was extremely sweet and accommodating, Alfredo also ensured we had everything we needed at our table. The “Dominican Breakfast” is an essential must to try!! I had it everyday!!On the beach and pool side Eddie was awesome in making sure that even when we were far away from the food and drinks we were able to still put In orders and receive service, it was amazing! The Management staff (Cory, Enrique, and Amanda) could be found at any moment and you can see them walking the grounds constantly, they even played a game of volleyball with us whom I had never seen staff do and even let us win! Overall the experience at Sanctuary Cap Cana exceeded Five Star service with a complete Welcome Home feel! First Impression last a lifetime and you sure made sure it was lasting. Thank you to each of you and Yes SEEEE YOU SOON!! (Pacheco "mangu")

Room Tip: Beachfront rooms are truly beach front.. you can walk right onto the beach!
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Michelle P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded April 9, 2013

We are glad you enjoyed your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana, and we thank you for sharing your experience online.

Welcoming our guest’s home drives us to serve with the finest hospitality and warmth. It is our pleasure to welcome our guests with such enthusiasm and care in order to create memorable moments.

We will share with our staff your remarks about their service. We are sure Eddy, Bernardo, Santos, Will, Alexander, Brenda, Alfredo, Manuel, Maria, Rocky, Ruben, Menor, Teddy Bear, Ronnie, Enrique & Victoria will be honored to know that you enjoyed and appreciate their hospitality. Every time a guest shares their gratitude towards their service, it makes them take pride on their efforts.

Thank you for your visit. We hope to host another vacation for you in the near future.

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Reviewed April 4, 2013 via mobile

First time staying in cap cana overnight. The hotel is expensive but has a great front desk Customer service and food is Good. although there is no much activity here....

it's a quiet , relax hotel... but i would dare to say it is over priced when the variety in food and recreation is just very basic.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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2  Thank yukmash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded April 5, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments online about your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

Our new management is working hand in hand with our food & beverage department, implementing new menus that can exceed our guest expectations. Our target is to improve and provide our valued guest with a memorable vacation. Let this not be a reason for you not to stay with us again.

We will share with our staff your remarks about their service. they will be honored to know that you enjoyed and appreciate their hospitality.

We sincerely hope that you will provide us with the opportunity to have you back in the future, and experience our improvement.

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Reviewed April 4, 2013

I booked my vacation here through a travel agency that was told it was an adult-only facility. When we arrived, (at 4 pm), we were told our room wasn't ready, but to have a drink in the bar and they would come get us. An hour later, I went to check on the room and the receptionist told me that she had not said that and that she had told me to check with the bellman. First impression-bad.
Next we realized that almost every guest there had at least 2 or 3 children. The main pool was always full of screaming children. At one point there were 38 children in the main pool. There 4 other pools that could be used, but 2 of them had no pool furniture and nowhere to put your towel, etc. The other one had lounge chairs, but only 2 umbrellas for 10 or 12 lounge chairs. There were fewer children in the second pool but they still were present. The beach was very small and so crowded with little children that we didn't spend any time there.
Service at the pool was not good. Drink orders were taken and then either never delivered or delivered after I became so frustrated that I went to get one myself.
Also, loud club music was played in the pool area for about 3 hours every day. Not relaxing at all.
The food in the Italian restaurant was quite good. The steakhouse was passable, but the other restaurants were not good. Service was not good at the restaurants. In fact, more than once, 2 different servers took our orders. One night an unattended child wandered from table to table eating off of guests tables. Somehow, I don't find this acceptable.
It would have been very easy to make certain areas, adult-only. Essentially 2 really nice pools weren't even usable.
The resort is very beautiful and the rooms were nice (other than the broken crooked lampshade in my room that was always the first thing I saw when I entered my room _HA!)
Anyway, this might be a good place for a family with small children but was not relaxing at all.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank memphismanMemphis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

I cannot possibly tell you how great this place is. I travel regularly and this place has the most friendly staff and the greatest service you could imagine. It was my fiance's first tropical vacation and she was very depressed that we had to leave. It was a X-mas gift for her and she was on cloud nine and said that every vacation from now on will be a dissapointment after experiencing the Sanctuary at Cap Cana. I told her that we will go back next year and stay for an extended period of time. Great job. You now have a new set of repeat customers. Punta Espada needs lessons from you guys on customer service.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank KeithH690
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded April 4, 2013

On behalf of the Sanctuary Cap Cana Staff, we want to thank you for your kind remarks about our property and staff.

It is with great pleasure and honor that we service each of our guests to make their experience out of the ordinary. It is because of you, our valued guests, that we are driven to work with enthusiasm and warmth. We are delighted that our staff and all the effort they put in were able to create a memorable vacation for you. We will share your positive feedback with the entire team.

We certainly will be ready to welcome you back in the near future.

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Reviewed April 2, 2013

I visited the wonderful Sanctuary Cap Cana resort with a friend at the end of February. From the time we arrived until our departure, we found the staff to be wonderfully helpful, friendly and welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble for them.

The rooms were wonderful. Initially we had reserved a Castle Junior Suite swim out room, and had requested a twin room. Unfortunately, they don't have twin rooms in this particular category and the room is too small to have a second bed put in. The room was delightful, and the ability to swim out into the salt water pool was very private and quite special.

They upgraded us to a Honeymoon Suite with Private pool, which was fabulous, but still just one bed! They did put in a second bed for us. The management handled this room change extremely well and were very apologetic about the initial mix up.

The complex is made up of numerous buildings with many different room types to suit all tastes and budgets. It is exceptionally pretty, colorful and quite a feast for the eyes. The gardens are stunning, well maintained and colorful, a peaceful haven in which to wander around. There are numerous swimming pools, none of which are busy, and areas to relax, but the beach area is rather small. There is a beautiful beach next to the hotel which appears to be quite safe and under utilized, nice for early morning walks.

I really wanted to give this hotel a 5 rating, but the food lets it down somewhat. For a five star resort, they haven't quite figured out the food. The room service food is adequate, but needs improvement. And for an island in the Caribbean the fruit is very poor. Lunch is a choice of a buffet or the Blue Marlin beach bar. Again, the food was adequate, but the salads were limp. The Wok, Steakhouse and Capricio were good. However, for an all inclusive, you have to pay for bottles of wine, and they are similar to NYC prices.

The Spa also requires improvement. The changing rooms were not adequately stocked. There was no shower gel in the showers, no feminine hygiene products, and no moisturizer. The steam room and sauna are co-ed. The spa itself was very beautiful and had very comfortable treatment rooms, but it would benefit from management by a outside Spa provider.

I would definitely return to the Sanctuary, as it was a truly relaxing experience. Its a very short ride from the airport, so you can be on the beach within an hour of landing. It is a truly beautiful resort, good value for money, friendly, welcoming and very comfortable.

Room Tip: Castle Junior suites are small, but the terrace is larger than the balconies on other rooms.
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank ShivvieAng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded April 3, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments online about your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

We are delighted to know that you enjoyed our beautiful scenery, from our gardens to the beach, as well as our staff Caribbean warmth. We will share with our staff your remarks about their service, they will be honored to know that you enjoyed and appreciate their hospitality.

We will take into consideration your feedback about our Spa, and food services. Our new management is working hand in hand with our food & beverage department, implementing new menus that can make our guests culinary experience unique, as well with other departments to improve our service and quality each and every day. Our target is to exceed your expectations and provide a memorable vacation.

We sincerely hope that you will provide us with the opportunity to have you back in the near future, and experience our improvement.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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: $316 - $662 (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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