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“Excellente!”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #40 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
South Carolina
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Excellente!”
Reviewed May 9, 2013

I normally do not write reviews, but the staff and service at The Sanctuary Cap Cana deserve recognition. We were there for five nights, May 1 - 6, our first time and were extremely impressed. We had read numerous reviews and would have to agree that the staff and service make this a resort to put on your list to visit. First, we were greeted at the entrance with a hearty "Welcome Home" by Saul, one of the many great bellman. Next, the gracious and beautiful Selenia greeted us at check-in and when she informed us of our room number with a special smile and said that it was very nice room, she did not exagerate. The resort is very good at recogizing special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and I won't spoil the surprise by going into details, but suffice it to say, that there were a lot of "wows" upon entering our room. Special kudos go to the concierge, Yissel, who took it upon herself to help fix my husband's sunglasses by taking them home with her and to a local eyeglass store! She went way above and beyond the call of duty! Also, Justo, another bellman, who always asked how we were doing and the answer was always an honest "Excellente!!"

Now to food and beverage -- overall, it was very good. We found our favorite restaurant was the Blue Marlin, definitely made better by our first visit at lunch with Robert and Naurys as our waiters. They were so engaging and fun that it set the tone for the rest of our meals. And then we met William, who rounded out a perfect trio of servers. Definitely try the Seafood buffett night - awesome lobster, sushi, coconut fish and too many other great dishes to name. We also ate at The Steakhouse and The Wok but did not try Capriccio's since the menu did not appeal to us. However, another couple we met enjoyed that restaurant also. The breakfast buffett was awesome and more than enough food to satisfy any appetite.

Although we did not partake in any of the poolside activities, it was obvious that the activities directors were very excited about their jobs and having a great time -- as were the guests involved. We spent our free time, when not golfing, by the beach being taken care of by Marta. What a great smile and so much fun -- hola to Marta from Ricardo y Josephina!

If you are a golfer, a round at Punta Espada is a must. Although the price tag is high, it is well worth the views and challenge! Benny was our caddie and a great coach, although I never could seem to master the greens which were fast, fast, fast! We also played La Cana, very nice and our caddie there, James, was a lot of fun. We added one more round at the Barcelo Lakes, a nice interior course that is very playable for all levels.

Our last day, as we were enjoying the ocean breezes out on the porch behind the Blue Marlin, we had the good fortune to meet Andres, the chef at Capriccio's and the Blue Marlin. What a great memory to leave with -- his sharing of his Paella recipe and a tasting also!

Of course, no resort is perfect and our only "complaints" were the limited wine list available in the all-inclusive and the lack of any water sport activities such as snorkeling, paddle boards, canoes, etc. If you want to stay active, definitely budget for some excursions.

Overall, I think the best recommendation anyone can give is that we would go back again.

Room Tip: In the main building, we were on the second floor which afforded better views of the ocean. The vil...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Snowshoocat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, May 11, 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. We will share with our staff your remarks..

We will take into consideration your feedback, it is our mission to improve everyday and exceed our valued guest’s expectations.

Thank you for your visit. We hope to host another vacation for you in the near future.
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Boston
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Husband and I came back from a great getaway last week from our first time to Dominican Republic. As other reviewers have said, the grounds really are beautiful.

There is an overwhelming amount of different types of rooms, which can be a bit confusing on which to pick. We had an ocean view room in the pink building to the right of the main lobby, 3rd floor. It was fairly large and had a pretty view of the ocean-but it was a bit dark and a little dated. We moved to a castle oceanfront room and it was perfect. We were on the end closest to the main pool/restaurants so it was a very short walk. Nice décor, and it felt spacious and bright. Very comfy bed!

I have to say the food was pretty good for an all -inclusive. It could use some slight improvement for the type of resort it's trying to be though. Really liked Blue Marlin (grouper sandwich, conch chowder) and the Steakhouse. The Wok had a nice setting but sushi, etc. not great. Italian had some strange meals, and was super warm inside. Didn’t love the breakfast buffet, but it was good enough to start the day with some fresh fruit and an omelet station. There was a “seafood fest” buffet one night which was our least favorite. Loved that we never had to wait for a table anywhere. Drinks were ok- typical for this type of resort. Wine not good.

The staff was very friendly and made us feel welcome. Housekeeping was so/so and they regularly forgot to clean our room. Same with mini bar restock (would be great if they could add some wine and liquor to the mix instead of just bohemia beer).

The hotel felt very empty at times, which can be a bad and good thing. We wanted to relax and rejuvenate and certainly felt that we accomplished that. But sometimes the lack of people was a bit depressing.

The beach was ok, small and cloudy but we spent some time at Juliano right next door to the castle and also on Saona island to get our beach fix.

Also, know some basic Spanish- you are in another country and shouldn’t expect that everyone speaks your language.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank NewEnglandTraver30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, May 10, 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. We are delighted that our staff and all the effort they put in were able to a memorable vacation for you.

We certainly will be ready to welcome you back in the near future.
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Warren, Michigan, United States
2 reviews
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Beautiful rooms, comfy bed, great service, friendly staff, yummy food, beautiful landscaping. The perfect place. We were upgraded to The Castle (which is adult only). It was a walk to the restaurants and lobby, but the quiet was worth it.

Room Tip: We had a room in the Castle (adults only) that had a swim up pool. We had an awesome porch to hang o...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Sue F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
We would like to thank you for your positive comments regarding your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

We are very pleased to read your appraisal of our team, services and facilities. Our team is very pleased to learn of your kind remarks and recognition of their efforts to meet your needs.

We look forward to hosting you as our guest soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Interesting resort with a bizarre mix of Spanish Colonial architecture. Buildings vary from small two story plantation style buildings to a garish modern castle looking monstrosity with an indoor water feature (loud and pungent) to some pretty nice casitas perched on the ocean. I was there during the week and only 2 restaurants were open for dinner. The Blue Marlin restaurant (the one on stilts over the water) was closed for renovation as was another restaurant in the castle building. Food at the Steakhouse was not very good. Steak itself was pretty poor quality, side dishes were bland and the wine was awful. The Tres Leche cake for dessert was awesome! Room service breakfast was just OK. Refrigerator in the room was well stocked with beer, water & soda but was only able to get down to about 50 degrees so everything was kind of warm. Overhead fans in the room were loud (annoying "tick" sound on low speed) as was the air conditioning. Overall, the preoperty is in need of maintenance. I stayed in a Junior Suite which was pretty large with relatively comfortable furnishings. Overall service was OK. Seems like everyone was trying but they lack hospitality training. Check in took almost 20 minutes even though there was no line.
Note that CapCana is a huge development and there is really nothing within walking distance of the Sanctuary except for Juanillo Beach where there is a small restaurant/bar.
I was in the Puntacana on business so I did not really take advantage of the beach or other resort amenities. I understand that the ownership took back management responsibility from Secrets after a 3 year run in order to give them the flexibility to sell the property without a management contract. Hopefully, they will sell to a company with a little more focus on customer service and property maintenance.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank J S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, May 10, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us online about your stay here at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

The experience that you have shared is far below what we would hope our guests to expect. We genuinely apologize for falling short of your expectations. Since undergoing new management we have directed our attention to areas that need most improvement. We appreciate your opinion, in effort; we are working to correct and improve every aspect of the resort.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the very near future.
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Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2013

I was at Sanctuary cap cana for 4night/5days.
I think that this resort is better than most of the resorts in Punta Cana.
However, we were not happy with the rooms in the beginning.
We could hear people's conversation next door. Water bug was found in the bathroom. water was licking from the ceiling.
On the next day, the staff changed our room to different building. The problems were resolve.
We ate well during the stay. Staff were very friendly and naive. Buildings are very beautiful.
You won't regret your choice if you staying at Sanctuary Cap Cana.
Try to go Hoyo Azul(Blue Hole Well) in the same area. That place is amazing. It's less than 10 mins taxi driving($2 cost) from the resort.

Room Tip: some Jr. Suite Ocean View rooms are outdated. My room was licking water on ceiling. man bugs were fo...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank coolkyu23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, May 9, 2013
I would like to thank you for your positive comments regarding your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana. Please, once again, accept our apologies for the inconveniences that you went through upon arrival.

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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Demarest, N.J.
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2013

I have traveled to the Dominican several times. We stayed at the mega resorts in Punta Cana & Puerto Plata, La Samana's, Casa De Campo and found Sanctuary's size to be more to our liking.
Loved the fact that it was easy to get around and architecturally very attractive. It is in need of some updating. We stayed in 1003 ocean front on the other side of the smaller beach area. Our location was fabulous if you like privacy, quiet and enjoy swimming, which I do. The beach there was beautiful and much larger with no rocks. The beach by the pool was small and had some dangerous hidden rocks, saw too many people trip and fall. Eddie our beach server was fantastic we were never without. Thank you Eddie! Pool was nice. Never had a problem finding a beach chair. Drinks were good. Food was good compared to other resorts. Anyone who expects 5 star quality food should not travel to the Dominican. Surprising was The Wok, best spring rolls I ever had. Steakhouse? Really? You can't compare it to NY quality. So I say it was average. Italian? Again OK but you have to be realistic. Blue Marlin for lunch was good. Breakfast unappealing. Thank goodness for the omelet station. fruit was fresh and tasty.
All in all service was good and people pleasant, they try.
The resort has changed hands many times and from what I am told will be taken over by a Hyatt. So now it's spotty at best. Did not use the Spa, when you get massages at home regularly for $50.00 it's hard to justify spending $110. Ground are clean and well kept. Housekeeping not the best, but showed up everyday.
Would I go back? Me not really. I think I am done with the Dominican, but you never know. As a first trip, however, to Punta Cana yes go. If you like the larger resorts with night activity and loud surroundings choose another place. If quiet, romance and low key is what you want don't hesitate, especially for the prices they are offering.

Room Tip: Suites on the beachfront all the way to the right 1001 is where we were. Very nice beach you can swi...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank NikiC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cory S, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, May 9, 2013
We would like to thank you for your positive comments regarding your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

Since undergoing new management we are working closely with our staff to make certain our guest receives the highest level of service. Our management team main priority is the guest.

We look forward to welcoming you back in the future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2013

Perhaps the more seasoned "all inclusive" travelers will not find anything useful (or surprising) from my review. Indeed, it's aimed at (i) those who like to eat well and (ii) have never spent time in an all-inclusive resort. Let's just say my wife and I won't be back to the Sanctuary, but it's got less to do with the hotel itself, but more to do with the entire concept of an all-inclusive resort.

Let's start with the pros: the rooms are well appointed, the grounds are very well maintained, the staff is friendly, and the drinks keep on coming -- you're able to get top shelf liquor all day long if that's your thing.

The cons, however, are compelling.

-- The quality of the food is unacceptable. Putting aside the fact that none of the restaurants offers any creative or original (or Dominican) dishes,, the menus read like those you'd expect to find at that run-down motel near the airport in a nondescript town in the U.S. And the dishes that came out of the kitchens tasted like what you'd expect to get at that motel -- bland, with no spice, and generally lackluster. Throughout our three days at the resort, there is not one meal that even approached "fast food" level quality. Everything tasted as if it had been pre-made off site and reheated at the restaurants.

-- The service is friendly, but amateurish. There is no attention to detail.

-- There is no wi-fi in the rooms. I know one is supposed to disconnect while at such a resort, but checking email and generally being connected with the rest of the world is a good thing. There are cable connections, but if you're on an Ipad or BlackBerry, you'll need to go to the common areas to check your email.

-- The TV's do not show channels in HD -- again, not a huge deal, but at $400 a night, you'd expect HD.

-- The spirits are top shelf, but the wine selection for the all-inclusive package is not good. And when the alternative is to pay USD 60 for Mouton Cadet (retail in US is like USD 12), you'll stick with beer or martinis instead of paying for mediocre wine at such inflated prices.

In sum, if you're interested in good food, and that's what partially is attracting you to the all-inclusive format, then I'd say the Sanctuary is not your place (or perhaps all-inclusive is not the right format...period). Overall it was a mediocre experience that cost my wife and me over USD 2,200 for two nights (with airfare). That's a lot of money, in my opinion, to eat so poorly and to have such basic amenities such as wi-fi and HD channels. We enjoyed our stay, but we will not be back.

Woland

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Woland 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 AlSol, responded to this review, May 9, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to let us know your feedback about your recent stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana.

We apologize for falling short on your expectations, with our new management on board, we are working closely to improve the quality of food and service, as well of other details. Our management team main priority is the guest, creating memorable vacations is what drives us to keep working our best.

We hope you will visit us again and see the improvement.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol

Property: Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Address: Boulevard Zona Hotelera, Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana 0809, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#13 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 Spa 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 
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Cap Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort

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