We visited Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana from April 4th-8, 2010. After extensive research, we booked this all-inclusive resort through Tami Pruitt at Tripsurfer Vacations, and were overly satisfied with the service and knowledge she provided.
Secrets Sanctuary is the most stunning resort we have seen. The physical beauty is not describable in words, or even pictures for that matter. The resort is large (and composed of 2 distinctly themed areas), however has only 150 guest rooms. The result was the feel of an expansive resort, but without the crowds and clutter. At check-in, we were told the resort was at 50% capacity. The attention to detail in landscaping, architectural design, and maintenance was remarkable. Nothing was out of place! Grass, flowers, and bushes were well manicured at all times. The variety of flowers and fauna was truly amazing and beautiful.
The physical infrastructure of this resort was impressive. If you are familiar with the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, the park is actually build on the "second floor" with tunnels below the park used to move the staff around and house utilities. Secrets had the same concept in the main area of the resort--with the main buildings and courtyard built on the "second floor", while all the utility rooms, warehouses, and worker areas were hidden on the first floor which might be missed by the casual observer. It was pretty impressive and improved the overall experience as things like pipelines, air conditioning units, and storage areas were hidden to the guests view.
It is important to note that his resort is in the premier Cap Cana development of Punta Cana. It was a 15 minute drive from Punta Cana airport. Cap Cana is very exclusive and currently being built. We did not venture off property, so I cannot really comment on some of the great amenities Cap Cana has to offer.
The Secrets beach was small. If you walked from end to end it would take less than 5 minutes as each side is surrounded by boulders. The beach itself is breathtaking and very clean. There were plenty of lounge chairs available, and about 4-5 covered beds. The sand was powdery with the occasional area of small rocks. The water was magnificent -- calm, warm, and turquoise. Beach service was excellent and very attentive. There was a second beach near the Fortress area of the resort, which we did not utilize. Apparently, this second beach is NOT part of Secrets and the bar/restaurant there are NOT included in the Unlimited Luxury plan. However, this beach very nice and typical of a beach you would find in Punta Cana. It was available to all Secrets guests and was within walking distance.
There are numerous pools on the property. The main pool had plenty of lounge chairs and pool service was wonderful. There was a swim up bar that played music (not loud) which was nice. The pool was expansive and warm. We did not use the other pools, but noticed they were smaller. One of them had a wonderful waterfall feature and a more private feel. On a side note, we had a swim up suite which was attached to the resorts saltwater pool. This was actually the best pool for us, as we love saltwater pools, the temperature was perfect, and it was very peaceful.
The food was just average and a bit disappointing with a few exceptions. The Blue Marlin (open for sit down lunch and dinner) and Capriccio (sit down dinner only) were wonderful dining experiences -- not gourmet, but very very good. Casa Bella (sit down for breakfast, semi-buffet for lunch) was just okay. We did not like Wok (Japanese dinner) and the Steakhouse (aka David Crocketts). One night, I ate the NY Strip Steak at David Crockett's and was ill the remainder of the trip. The illness could have been from anything, but it was odd that my problems began within hours of eating there. We had sushi at Wok and were not impressed at all. Overall though, I felt that seafood throughout the resort was very fresh and well prepared (they catch it daily) but the meats had a lot to be desired. Lobster and prime cuts of meat were NOT included (Lobster was $15 a pound, and prime meats were $15-65 extra).
We utilized room service one morning for breakfast. They delivered a delicious and generous breakfast within 25 minutes of ordering, which was superb.
Aside from the physical beauty and magnificent architecture of this resort, the service was probably the most impressive part of our stay. Again, to compare this place to Disney, it seems like the staff here took a page right out of the Disney cast member training. The staff is very attentive and very very warm. They seem to have a genuine interest in your satisfaction -- whether it be at lunch, by the pool, or just relaxing at the lounge. Each staff member is uniformed in attire that correlates to the area of the resort they work in which was pretty neat. Many have earpieces for fast communication. They all wear nametags and talk to you as if you are a person, not just a guest. Management was very present and accessible, and also showed genuine concern for their guests satisfaction. Also, response time is blazing fast. We asked for an iron one night, and had it delivered within 10 minutes. Another morning our toilet broke, and there was someone there in 5 minutes to fix it. Service at the restaurants was also superb -- water and wine were refilled, courses were served promptly, special requests were honored correctly. Housekeeping did a phenomenal job, and turndown service at night was fantastic (I loved how they leave the TV on with New Age channel for background music).
I believe it was said before, but the staff at this hotel work very long hours with very little time off. We would see the same server we had at 8am breakfast later for dinner at 8pm. We tipped almost everyone for everything, but felt that our tips had no bearing on the quality of service we received.
Just the right amount. There was nightly entertainment which consisted of live bands, singers, karaoke, bingo, etc. They had one entertainer, Chris Blizzard, who was phenomenal. There were also activities during the day such as sushi making class, rum tasting, ping pong, volleyball, aerobics, etc. The entertainment staff was awesome (hi Katerina!), and did not pester if you didn't want to get involved. A newsletter was left on your bed each night with the daily schedule which was a nice touch.
We stayed in a Castle Jr Suite Swim Up which was in the Castle/Fortress area of the resort. The room was immaculate and large. Bedding was superb and very comfortable. Furniture and decor were very modern and in very good taste. Room had a mini-bar that was restocked twice a day with sodas, water, and beer. There were no little bottles of liquor which was a bit of a let down. Air conditioning worked perfectly. Bathroom was huge and had separate "closets" for the toilet and shower. There was also a bathtub with no jets. Double sink with modern faucets, water bottles provided in bathroom to brush your teeth. There was no Wi-Fi (except in the lobby), but there was Ethernet (free). Porch outside the room was also huge and furnished with lounge chairs and tables. Again, saltwater swim up pool was simply priceless. I will note that the walk from our room to the main area of the resort (pool, lobby, food) was about 10 minutes. Also, the rooms in this part of the resort had a very musty smell (to be expected) so you might want to pack a candle if that bothers you.
Not impressed. Had a couples massage on our last day. You wait in the lobby area then they put you in your massage room, they tell you to undress and then it begins. Nothing special about it all. No ice water, no place to relax before or after. The spa is located in a converted guest suite (albeit a huge 2 level suite), which makes it even less impressive. They are building a huge spa facility, so I would imagine once that opens, the spa will be worth it.
We saw 2 flies the entire time, and that was it! No bugs or mosquitoes! Hurray!!!
The resort was taken over in January by Secrets so they are transitioning to an all-inclusive, adults only model. We knew that April 4th was the last day they would honor reservations with children and were told before we arrived that no children would be allowed at the resort after that date. However, 1 day into our stay we saw a couple check in with a baby and used all the facilities we used. It was a bit disappointing. So you may want to verify with Secrets that this place really is Adults Only and that they are not making any more exceptions.
Sorry for the long report, but there is just too much to say about this wonderful resort. It is very well oiled machine run with very competent management and staff. The Castle area of the resort is truly spectacular and a must-see even if you are staying on the other side of the resort. You will be blown away by the hospitality of the staff and the magnificence of the resort. After a bad stay at Zoetry Paraiso in November, AMResorts earned our respect again with their Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana property.
- 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