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“Punta Cana's best kept SECRET! Amazing Resort.”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #37 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed April 11, 2010

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.

Beach:

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.

Pool:

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.

Food:

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.

Service:

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.

Entertainment:

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.

Rooms:

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.

Spa:

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.

Bugs:

We saw 2 flies the entire time, and that was it! No bugs or mosquitoes! Hurray!!!

Kids:

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.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank WDWFan1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 28, 2010

From the amazing views, to the overly friendly and happy staff, to the food; to sum it up, this resort has it all. From the minute we walked up the Concierge, we were treated with smiles, a genuine feel of warmth, and had the pleasure of knowing many of the staff that took care of us on a daily basis to ensure that our experience was nothing less than everything we desired it to be.

Every day began with a blue sky and the sun shining, a stroll to the pool and an incredible breakfast at Casa Bella, again, having the wait staff take are of our every need.

Days were sundrenched lounging poolside or at one of the beaches, kayaking with their water sport options, or sitting at the poolside bar.

Evenings were filled with amazing food and wine at any of their restaurants. The food ranged from amazing steak, to pasta to the freshest fish I have ever eaten.

The bottom line is this: we were treated like we were the only two guests at this resort. We LOVED that. The resort's beauty speaks for itself and the photos are true to life right down to the rooms, but it was the staff's attention to detail that made our vacation, a break from reality and allowed us to truly have an experience like none other.

We have already booked a second trip for late this fall and have recommended this to all of our friends who are looking for an all inclusive, luxury vacation.

Thank you so much for an amazing time! We will see the resort and everyone there soon!

Abbe & Sean

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank NycCurlygirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2010

We are travelling with high expectations. And here we found it. We were here in March 2010 in an ocean front villa (No1028) which is highly recommendable. You feel like a celebrity with your own 150sqm terrace. Privacy pure. The food is excellent. The staff is highly motivated. The resort is under new management since early this year. And they do a great job. Especially the assistant manager Cory. So if you want to stay in Punta Cana at one of its best places don`t hesitate to get booked in this beautiful resort.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank preef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2010

The perfect hideaway, you have good food, good drinks and great service. Even though isn't the cheapest in the area getting the all inclusive package isn't a bad deal at all. I will go back, great location to have a relaxing time. A little far from town, if your plan is to relax and no to party this is definitely the place to go to…

  • Stayed: February 2010
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3  Thank JM_OC_California_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2010

My husband and I just returned from 12 wonderous days at Secrets Sanctuary. We have vacationed here many times since they opened over 2 years ago and I must say, it only gets better!
Since the new management has recently taken over there are many activities, both day and night. Each night a schedule of the next day's activities is left in your room. Some of our nightime activities included an incredible magic show, acrobats from Mongolia that would rivel Cirque de Soliel, a bondfire on the beach, karaoke and a live "Abba" band that ended with everyone dancing under the stars to "Mama Mia!"
Your days can be spend as leasurely or active as you want. Some of the daytime activities included volley ball tournaments, bocce ball, yoga, water aerobics, dance and Spanish lessons and a "drink of the day" demonstation. The pool and swim up bar are great.
The nearby golf at Punta Espada will absolutely take your breath away! Eleven holes are on the water and the waves are crashing all around you! The hotel offers a free shuttle to take you there. We played several times.
The architecture of the hotel and the grounds are just magnificant. Beatifully manicured.
If you go on the Secrets Sanctuary Facebook page, you can see for yourself. You sure won't be disapppointed!
The restauarants are very good. My husband's favorite is the steak house and mine is the Blue Marlin, where you eat on a pier over the water. Everyday they have fresh fish that the local fisherman bring in on small boats. Treat youself to the fresh grilled lobster one night, it is fantastic! They also have an Asian and Italian restaurant that are very good too. A drink at The Love Bar is our favoirite way to start the evening!
We stayed in an ocean front villa this time and it was very spacious with a beautiful view,
great bathroom and very comfy bed
There is also a small casino with slot machines and table games. We always enjoy a little blackjack there.
Since the hotel is only 10 minutes from the airport, you can literally get off the plane and be at the resort in 1/2 hour. This is one of the many reasons we come back often.
Another reason is the staff. They are SO friendly and gracious. They just can't do enough for you and always great you with a big smile. They have truly become our friends.
I would recommend this resort to anyone and can't wait for our next trip back!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank coolbeanssuzanne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2010

My wife and I stayed at the Sanctuary for 9 nights in February. Since we were there for 9 nights I think we were able to get a real feel of how the resort operates.

Here are some bullet points on the pros and cons of the Sanctuary:

Pros
-Probably the most beautiful grounds of any property in the Caribbean we have stayed at
-We enjoyed that the property was quiet and had a secluded feel to it. The resort provided some daily morning activities and entertainment about every other night, although we didn’t partake.
-Beachfront suite was spacious and very comfy
- Covered beds on the beach available most of the time
-From the moment one of the boys picked up our luggage and we were picked up at the airport, everyone we met was very friendly. I think starting each conversation with a smile and a nice “hola” always helps.
-15 minutes from the airport
-The Life Fitness cardio machines in the fitness room were very nice. The elliptical (2) and treadmill (2) had Ipod docking stations on them as well.


Cons
We only had one big con, but unfortunately it is a big one for us. For us, the food wasn’t that great at all. Like another reviewer said, the food at the beach was of very poor quality. Whatever you do, don’t order the avocado wrap at the beach area. Believe me, save your $15 and send me $5.  It consisted of two very small tortillas wrapped with 1 small piece of avocado and 1 small piece of tomato with mayo.

Since my wife and I are vegetarians, I won’t go into much detail because I am not sure that is entirely fair to the resort. Needless to say, Sanctuary didn’t have many options for us and the ones they did have lacked flavor and simply were not very good. If you want more info on this, please don’t hesitate to private message me.

I don’t know how the food was before, but maybe since they changed to “unlimited privileges” it has cheapened a bit. If you eat 2+ meals a day and you drink alcohol, the all inclusive package might be better for you. Just remember to check certain glasses or bottles of wine might not be included and you won’t find out until you check out!

Although our dinners were included, we did venture off the property. The best meal we had was at Cappuccino in the marina and the one at Farallon was very good too.

Overall, The Sanctuary is a lovely property. However, for the price we can’t justify it with the food quality and options available.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank junkrus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ventassescc, Sales Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded March 9, 2010

First of all, on Behalf of Secrets Sanctuary Capcana & AMResorts, we want to thank you for your confidence in us.
we appreciate your time and your review about your vacation at the hotel, this will help us to be better.
we apologize for the inconvenience that you got during your vacation with Vegetarian food, we will review this issue and change what is not working Properly.

once again, Thank you for thinking in us for your vacation; hope to have you here with us soon.
please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any information or assistance from us.
info.sescc@secretsresorts.com

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Reviewed March 1, 2010

This was a scramble to get away from the snow , and my travel agent (Robin) from awaytodaytravel.com went above and beyond with this resort.
The resort sits in a quiet paradise of palm trees and beaches. There is major remodeling going on , but all the amenities were still available , and the noise was never an issue. Walking the resort you can appreciate the scope and beauty of what the resort will be .
The rooms were large and the beds comfortable.
The food was the best I have had at any all inclusive resort . We tried all the restaurants . We never had a reservation , or waited for a table.
The staff is the real gem with this resort . From the Food and Beverage Director (Corey Santana ) to the entire wait staff . We felt like we were the only guests at the resort. Service was attentive , but never rushed .
Like any vacation , it is what you make it . This was our Sanctuary !!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ZonkerHarris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ventassescc, Sales Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded March 9, 2010

Thanks for you Comments, we really appreciate your time.
here in Secrets Sanctuary Capcana, all staff is dedicated to make your vacation a once in a life time experience.
we are really glad that you have enjoyed.
Thanks for your confidence in us, hope to have you here on site again and please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any info or assistance from us.

my best regards,

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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 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
#33 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#33 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $305 - $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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