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“Beautiful resort...but not yet complete”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts
Ranked #30 of 114 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed September 26, 2010

My husband and I went to Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana for a short anniversary trip. We had stayed at two other Secrets Resorts before and liked it so we felt good about choosing this one. The resort is about 15 min from the Punta Cana airport, so it is in a really convenient location. Just a note, it is cheaper to get a taxi at the airport than it is to make a reservation for a car to pick you up either through the resort or through Amstar. The hotel charged $55 to send a car for us and Amstar charged $45. We ended up paying $30 one-way by taking a taxi from the airport. There are a lot of taxi drivers looking to make some money, so we had a lot to choose from. I had read in some reviews that it's wise to verify the fare before getting in the car, so I did and it worked out. We had originally made a reservation through the hotel for a car to get us, but the car accidentally picked up other guests and forgot to come get us. The resort was very apologetic but it wasn't a big deal since we ended up saving $25 by taking a taxi.
The area of Cap Cana is beautiful. Even though there is a lot of construction going on because many resorts are being built, the manicured landscapes around the open spaces are gorgeous!
Since we got to the resort sometime before check-in, we decided to walk around and get something to eat. The grounds were beautiful. The view of the ocean was breathtaking. I believe that the resort has 4 pools. We saw 3 of them-one big one (main pool with activities), a really small one to the right and then a medium sized (quiet one with the water fall) to the left. My husband and I ate at Casa Bella restaurant for lunch-it was a buffet. The food was good and they had a variety of things to choose from. We also ate at the same place for breakfast everyday. They have a buffet for breakfast and an omelet station.
Since our room was still not ready for us after lunch, we took a walk to the castle which is a lot further from the main area of the resort. There is still some construction going on there as some of the previous reviews had stated, but it looks as though they are almost complete. We were also encouraged to go to the Marina since we still had time before our room was ready. There is a free shuttle that goes there (it is off the property). Although it was beautiful, it was a waste of time because anything that was there was closed and it was practically a ghost town. We could count the number of people we saw on one hand and they were just the workers. There are a lot of villas and condos and a lot of construction. It definitely looked like an up and coming place but for the more distant future.
Once our room was ready, we hopped on a golf cart (driven by the staff) and they took us to our room. The room looked just like it did online, it was spacious and the bathroom was very nice. The thing I noticed though when I walked in was that the seat cushions on the stand on the foot of the bed as well as on the sofa looked a little stained. It wasn't completely gross so I didn't say anything about it. We were supposed to get a room upgrade but no other rooms were available at the time so we just left it alone. One thing though is that our 'Ocean View" room did not have a view of the ocean-a little disappointed by that. It was more a "Garden View".
The main problem that we did have in the room was in the bathroom. The toilet would either not flush or it would run forever. It would easily clog because there was barely any water pressure. We also did not have hot water in the shower most of the time. We had to call concierge for a maintenance person all three nights that we stayed there. They did come quickly and fix our issues, but still, it was ridiculous that we had to call so many times. Also, there was this horrible sewer type smell that we experienced one night in the bathroom when the toilet kept running-gross. We had a similar toilet issue at the Casa Bella restaurant. So we were thinking that there plumbing maybe needed some adjusting-hopefully they will fix this soon.
We spent the most of our time at the main pool and a little by the medium pool. There was water volleyball everyday which my husband participated in. The staff by the pool (namely Miami and Willy Wonka-yes, that it what their name tags said) had a lot of energy and got people involved in the game.
We did go to the beach but did not really get into the water because the waves were a little rough and there were A LOT of rocks and pebbles as you begin to enter the water-that was a little disappointing since the water looked so nice.
We ate at all of the restaurants, the best I felt was the Wok restaurant. I had the orange chicken-it was so good. The only problem was that the service was very slow. Actually the Capriccio restaurant was also very good and they had someone sing and play the guitar-it was romantic and the food was delicious. My husband felt that his best meal was at The Marina restaurant where they had a 'Lobster Night' and a buffet and it was partially outdoors.
All in all, the resort was very nice and if they continue to make the necessary adjustments and improvements, we would definitely visit again.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank kez383
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretsSanctuaryCC, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded September 29, 2010

Dear Guest

Thank you for sharing your experience of the hotel and for staying with us. We will share with the rest of our staff your great comments as well as the areas of opportunities you have mentioned. We look forward to your next visit to our beautiful Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana!

Best Regards

Carlos A Del Pino
General Manager

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Reviewed September 24, 2010

We just got back from this beautiful resort. We chose it for our 30th anniversary based on reviews and photos. We were looking at just relaxing and being together. This was exactly what we got in the most beautiful setting. When we arrived we were greeted with cold drinks and cold towels, then whisked away by golf cart for a tour and to bring us to our room which was upgraded to an ocean front suite. The room was spacious, clean. It was a little musty but I brought Fabreeze as i had read previous reviews and came prepared as we are in a tropical climate in paradise. The staff called several times during our stay to ask if everything was to our satisfaction. How could it not be. We did have one upset, the Jets lost on Monday night, but i really can't blame the resort for that, lol.

I understand a vacation is what you make it and everyone has a difference of opinion on what they are looking for. For us this was a true sanctuary. The food was wonderful, we have been to several all inclusive' s resorts including Excellence, and feel it was far superior. I cant say we had a bad meal. I will say our first lunch at the Blue Marlin, while the food was fabulous, the service was not as friendly as throughout the rest of the resort. I'm not sure what happened but the next day reversed my opinion and service was laughing and nice. I do have a suggestion for breakfast, I wish there was Egg's Benedict, or just more variety for breakfast. I had read the menu in the lobby for Casabella and was really looking forward to it, but then found it was only the buffet. All the staff go out of their way to help. The language barrier, If that is what you cal it, enhanced our trip as they tried hard in English, and we tried hard in Spanish. I would have to say they win the award as our conversations usually ended in laughter and we always got what was asked for. These wonderful people work and try so hard, i don't understand any negative reviews. We did order room service every morning before breakfast and they were always there in 10 minutes. Got to have my coffee.

Here's a tip if you go and play the love game, guys where shorts, trust me. We only used the paddle boats 1 afternoon, and decided it was too strenuous and conflicted with our nap time at the beach. When we first arrived we did get lost, but in our exploration we found this wonderful bar and infinity pool. It is on top of the fortress and we felt like it was our own as no one ever went there. It was truly beautiful.

We will be back. We had an incredible time. Thank you to all the staff including my new son Alex, we miss you lots.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank cdfusco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretsSanctuaryCC, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded September 29, 2010

Dear Guest

Thank you for your post on Trip Advisor. We appreciate your wonderful comments of Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana and are delighted that we have exceeded your expectations. We look forward to welcoming you and your clients back soon.

Best Regards

Carlos A Del Pino
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2010

Hola! I am a traveler who first went to Sanctuary in April 2010 and visited some other Punta Cana resorts as well. It was a very nice resort then, and now, after returning from a second stay Sept 9-17 my word is “INCREDIBLE”!! I am so impressed by the changes made at this resort, with biggest improvement being entertainment. There are activities all day, from yoga and fitness classes in the morning taught by professional guest instructors to the pool volleyball all day. Shell and bottle painting was fun. There was a manager versus guest volleyball tournament one afternoon. The guests won, and it was a good battle! Also food demos, Spanish lessons, aqua class. Despite the romantic vibe this resort has, there was also a lot of fun happening. Same for evening entertainment, shows, magicians, something happening every night.

The beach is very well kept and there are two additional beaches, each to the south and north of the resort’s beach. Secrets does not maintain the other beaches next door, as both are owned by other resorts (not built yet), but they make for good walking arenas (at the beach opposite water sports I found very big conch shells). The beach closer to the Marina has the water sports now offering water trampoline, kayaks, paddleboats, snorkel. Plus Scape 2 Cap Cana offering excursions of added cost. I kayaked one afternoon and it was very nice, with calm waters. Also I visited the Marina, free shuttle 5 min from resort. It was interesting. I went with a group of 3 and we enjoyed beautiful photo spots, search for sea shells and just walking around. It was cool to be there now, before the total completion of the development, and imagine what it will be like, with all the tourists and residents, in only a couple of years.

My room was jr. suite ocean view and totally stunning! Very close to the location of my room in April and I love it. I wake up to the sunrise over the ocean horizon and it’s gorgeous! The rooms have black out blinds, separate sitting area, tv with good channels, free Ethernet, coffee, tea and mini fridge stocked with the favorites. Beautiful bathroom where everything worked. Ladies I suggest you bring some conditioner from home. The shampoo/conditioner combo just didn’t condition my hair enough. Perfect walk in closet with safe that fits my 15” laptop. I wish I could take the closet home! Awesome room and very good housekeeping, making for a super comfortable stay. I love the Sundial at turn down to tell me all the activities and restaurant happenings for the next day.

Plenty of bars, top shelf liquor. Pool bar, Love Bar open early and then 2P.M. the Ocean Club opened. In the Love Bar opens at 9 A.M., I could sit in the afternoons and use the free wifi (many public spaces of the resort have wifi) while sipping wine and enjoying a light snack. Top shelf liquor at every bar, but I mainly stuck with wine. The Ocean Club has a gorgeous view from the infinity pool, deck and bar. Comfortable, yet posh bar and the bartenders are happy to create a new favorite cocktail or a crisp glass of chardonnay.

I love the food. Lots of options for the meat lover and vegetarian alike. The seafood was fresh and tasty everywhere I ordered it. My fav night was Dominican Night., maybe because the food was so authentic to the area or something. Very tasty. I enjoyed my vacation and a big part of that was the courtesy paid to me by the service staff at the restaurants. They are very attentive, always refilling whatever beverage is in front of me and ensuring each dining session is an exceptional experience. The food is very good, so many options. I loved the salmon at Steak House. Eating at the Blue Marlin is fantastic to see and feel the ocean breezes moving into shore. The only restaurant I did not make it to was Wok. My favorite was Capriccia (Italian rest) for dinner and you must order the gazpacho soup at Blue Marlin for lunch.
It was fantastic and I do not feel the resort, nor staff, could have done anything to make my personal experience better. Part of life is what you make of it, as is your vacation. Spending time scrutinizing a great experience to finally find the faults will not happen in this review. I traveled solo to the resort. Staff made me feel welcome, and paid attention to the details of my stay. Anytime I needed something the staff member at hand did an exceptional job assisting me. From the taxi ride to walking solo on the beach, never once did I feel unsafe. People were all courteous to me and I had a fun time practicing my Spanish with some staff members here and there. Thank you Carlos and the entertainment staff, and I also extend my thanks to the entire staff there. They work very hard, long hours and it is paying off, big time. Great resort, obviously improving all the time. This traveler looks forward to a third visit.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank heart_caribbean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretsSanctuaryCC, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded September 23, 2010

Dear Guest

Thank you for sharing your experience with others through Trip Advisor. It is extremely important for us to offer and provide personalized service and experiences. We have taken your comments into consideration in order to continue to delight our future guests. We hope to have the pleasure to welcome you on a future vacation to our property!

Best Regards

Carlos A Del Pino
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2010

Last september, my husband ans I spent 7 luxurious days at this resort. The resort is so enchanting, with it's colonial decor, the beautiful gardens and the water fountains. The restaurants are just great, the food is marvelous and the wine is of good value. The staff on the beach, at the pool or in the restaurants, are very courteous and friendly. The resort is secluded, if you want to have a very relaxing vacation, it's perfect, or if you want to have fun, you are in the wright spot. The place is so big, that you have to take a cart to get from one place to another. One little "hick" maid service (rooms) needs to improve, they sort of forget a lot, like towels, glasses. facecloths, coffee and the mini-bar, they often forget to fill. But forget room service, we had a tremendous and relaxing vacation, did I forget to mention there are no children, its adults only. It's gorgeous, we highly recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank nickie0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretsSanctuaryCC, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2010

Dear Guest

Thank you for your post on Trip Advisor. We appreciate your wonderful comments of our property Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana and are delighted that we have exceeded your expectations. We look forward to welcoming you in the near future

Best Regards

Carlos A Del Pino
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2010

A friend and I just returned from a week at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana, and I can hardly put into words how incredible our stay was. From the very beginning to the very end, it was quite simply an amazing adventure, an incredible resort and a paradise in every way. It's hard to fathom the negative reviews, as we encountered nothing of what's been negatively reviewed. The resort staff are kind and generous people who are genuinely interested in not only making sure you are taken care of, but also in welcoming you to their country. Most spoke very good English, and those that were still learning were quite interactive and interested in communicating with gestures and learning. We were, afterall, visiting their country. Had we wanted a 'westernized' vacation where everyone emulated our language and our customs, then we would have vacationed in the US or England. We wanted to experience a different culture, a different people and a different language. It was incredibly engaging and fun.

The resort itself is breathtaking... manicured and landscaped and well maintained. The gardeners and landscapers were working constantly the entire time we were there, and always said 'Hola' when we would walk by. The resort itself is a self contained little city, with cobblestone walkways and drives weaving within lush greenery and gardens, and romantically lit by night. All of the pools are picturesque and accessible and all offer different views of the sea, the beach and the grounds. The main pool sits on the ocean, is huge and clean with plenty of floating mats for everyone and a swim up bar staffed by funny and engaging bartenders. I had zero complaints the entire time we were there. We spent much of our time at the main pool and meeting the other couples that were relaxing and enjoying the time. We met and saw mostly couples and nearly everyone we saw was relaxing and having a great time.

I really have no idea where the negative reviews come from about the food and liquor. Firstly, there is brand name liquor at EVERY bar... not only is it there, but it's on the bar shelves in plain display, all you have to do is ask for it by name. Jack Daniels, Johnny Walker Red & Black, Chivas, Midori, Compari, Cuervo 1800, Malibu, Bacardi, Sky Vodka, Absolut (including Pepper and Citron) and the list goes on and on. The mixed drink and exotic cocktails listed on a classy menu with all of the ingredients right there. We ate at all of the restaurants and ordered room service 6 times, and had NO complaints! The Davey Crockett signature salad at the steakhouse was one of the best avacado/tomato and cheese salads that I've every had. Room service always came with a smile, a complete setup on your room table and a phone call soon afterwards to make sure everything was as ordered. It just could not have been any better.

The staff was one of the best parts of the whole trip. Everyone was so engaging and willing to teach you their language and learn yours, and was quite the experience. The people were genuine. A special thanks to Juan Bautista, our waiter at Capprecio and again later at the Blue Marlin.. Juan, your service and outgoing personality were one of the highlights of our stay. Thank you for the great conversations and the wonderful service.... you are an asset to Sercrets and Marcy and I look forward to seeing you again soon. And another special thanks to Manuel and Domingo, the resort dinner singers that will wow you at your table. Manuel is simply an undiscovered recording artist... we were amazed at how talented a singer he is.

Carlos, Marcy and I would like to thank you for all of the hospitality and professionalism that you and your staff showed. Thank you for the upgrade to the Honeymoon Junior Suite, where the view was beyond words. You have a great resort, and more importantly a great staff. We will never forget our visit to Sercrets. Thanks to all of you for welcoming us to your country. We will be back soon! - Michael & Marcy

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Hook_Em_Nation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretsSanctuaryCC, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2010

Dear Guest

Thank you for the positive review. We are pleased you had a most enjoyable stay with us. We look forward to welcoming you back soon at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana!

Best Regards

Carlos A Del Pino
General Manager

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Reviewed September 18, 2010

No long play-by-play for this review. My wife and I spent 7 days at this resort beginning August 29. It was "camp honeymoon" week at the resort but I am noting here that our stay at the resort was just a regular old vacation for us. We did our research, read the reviews....and in spite of some online chatter about the property, we stuck with our choice. Boy were we glad we did. We had a great time.

The property is a higher end all-inclussive and that is what you get. The facility and rooms are good if not great, we stayed in a Monarch Suite.....living room, bedroom, bath, walk-in closet. Any idea what you pay for that at the Broadmoor or Four Seasons. Well I know and it's a heck of a lot more, minus the all-inclussive part. Good food, bar service kind of average, pools awesome (they are everwhere), beach was as many describe. Overall this place was great. The property was less than full during most of our stay and as a result we got to know just about all the guests. We met a bunch of fun and friendly people. Borrowed that "camp honeymoon" phrase from our friends from Ohio.

The staff works long, long hours. We see the same faces at breakfast and dinner. If you ever need to talk with a manager, just go to breakfast. Seemed like they dined together each morning making themselves accessable as a group. Good way to make yourself visible to guests.

What else, well lets just say that in the five years since we've discovered the all-inclussive concept we've stayed with several brands (Barcelo,Couples,Secrets Maroma Beach, Riu, Grand Lido) but never repeated a location (excluding the Barcelo Ixtapa which is an annual event). Sanctuary is going to break that trend and be a "repeat" for us. Oh, did I say the golf is great too. Better than Maroma Beach and it was "free" there!

Can't close without recognizing a few of the kind people that looked after us.....you've seen the names before Miami, Richard, Santos, the entire staff at Blue Marlin, Glynis, Marcos and Carlos. You're on the right track!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BeachnutsinMissouri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretsSanctuaryCC, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2010

Dear Guest

Thank you for sharing your experience with others through Trip Advisor. It is extremely important for us to offer one-of-a-kind experiences. We have taken your comments into consideration in order to continue to delight our future guests. We hope to have the pleasure to welcome you on a future vacation.


Best Regards


Carlos A Del Pino
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2010

Like some other reviewers, let me first give you our perspective. My husband and I travel extensively, staying at only four and five diamond hotels. We prefer smaller properties (no mega resorts) and are major foodies. We are both 38, have no children (by choice), and love luxury. I am a housewife and my husband owns 3 businesses. We chose Secrets Sanctuary based on the photos of the property. To tell the truth, I was a little sick in my stomach worrying we had made the wrong choice prior to our trip. The reviews are so all over the map. But that is probably due to people's perspectives. We usually don't travel to the Caribbean in the summer, reserving it for winter trips, but we decided to do so something different for our anniversary this year. The property is amazing, and you can tell that Secrets is working to build/repair/upgrade the property. They are currently building a new outdoor bar/restaurant, spa/gym, and renovating tons of rooms.
All the staff are amazingly friendly. It is a lot easier with some of the staff if you do know some Spanish. It is also respectful, I think, to try and speak their language. Tipping is not required but we tip anyway. $2-$5 tips are great, but after my husband lost a wad of one's ($200 worth!) we started tipping $5's and $10's. I was really upset the first day we were there. The rooms are nice but not especially fancy. There is NO HOT water. Even though maintenance and management will tell you the water is hot, it is tepid at best. No romantic baths in the big tub for us! I tried it but was shivering! No steamy hot water showers for sure.
The resort looks really high end, but the food, cheesy cruise ship activities, and lack of attention to detail drags it down to being average.
If you are used to fine dining, dropping $150-$500 on a meal for two and not batting an eyelid, you will hate the food. I love to cook. My sister-in-law works for Food Network. I know food. My husband is not so picky and found it OK.
The Restaurants:
David Crockett Steakhouse (Seriously, are we at Disney World!?): My husband loved all the steaks. He said they really cook them well. The have nice Empanadas and good sides also. I had salmon one night (totally overcooked and no seasoning/sauce) and pork chops another (very overcooked, but good seasoning). The tres leches cake was the best part of the meal. The lighting at the front of the restaurant is very bright. The back of the restaurant is better.
The Wok: Sushi and Hibachi...had some sushi. It was average. My husband saw sashimi on the menu and asked for the fish choices. Guess what? Salmon was the only choice that night. Strange. My husband had some asian grouper and loved it. The orange chicken was over-salted and literally inedible. I went to bed hungry. The atmosphere is really nice here. Service here was the worst of all the restaurants. Who doesn't know that appetizers come prior to the entree?Cappricios: Italian restaurant that is good as long as you aren't Italian or live up north and know real Italian food! Good salads. (Stay away from the Parmesan Pudding!)
The Blue Marlin: The staff here rocks (Guzman!) and the view is fantastic. We ate lunch here (fairly ok but nothing to rave about) and also went to the Seafood (Lobster) Fest. This was the best meal of the week. We got there early based on a staff suggestion (which was correct) and had Caribbean Spiny Lobster, grilled with butter, very good...a good buffet of seafood dishes, soup, desserts, sushi, and a pasta bar (it looked weird so we didn't try it).
Casa Bella: Good, basic breakfasts, buffet lunch which had some good choices some days (like Ceviche). My hubby liked their grill (different choices each day...steak, kabobs, Mahi, chicken, sausage, burgers). Lovely fruit availability. Fresh fish choice every day. Fish was usually the best dish at every restaurant.
Ocean Bar: Fantastic, romantic, has a pool no one ever uses. They should turn this into a Las Vegas style lounge at night. That would be very chic. It took us 30 minutes to find the place, but we are glad we did.
We have never been to an all-inclusive where you have to pay extra for wine by the glass, but here you do. Like I said, we only go to the best hotels, AI or not. We have never been to an AI where you cannot order liquor via room service. No romantic bottle of wine under the stars. There are only about 8 choices on the room service menu. My husband had the club sandwich one night after a meal he didn't like. It was a ham and cheese sandwich. One piece of sandwich meat, two Kraft Singles. Really? Can't even get a Club Sandwich correct! He couldn't eat it.
Dress Codes: I was so over-dressed in my designer dresses and shoes. My husband looked like he owned the hotel compared to the attire I saw at this resort. Especially when seated next to couples where the men were wearing baseball caps (all through dinner can you believe it!), shorts and beer logo tee shirts. I hope management start enforcing the dress code because we felt very out of place. Probably because this hotel seems to cater to a different type of crowd.
The Spa: It is good to know they are building a new spa. Although the atmosphere wasn't great (bright, clinical), the Couples Massage we had was amazing and worth every penny and more. Fantastic spa staff.
The Bars: The pool bar is great. Wonderful staff. I don't know why reviews say the drinks aren't strong, because they are excellent. I did like the "Drink of the Day" idea. Try them all. The limited selection of beer disappointed my husband, but that was OK because they do have some top shelf liquors. I just wish the bar would cut off the guests who get so drunk they can't climb out of the pool or pass out on the pool floats.
The Beach: Although the beach right by the main pool is small, guests are missing out if they don't get taken (via golf cart) to Jaunillo Beach, right at the end of the hotel property. This is where the water sports are...snorkeling (murky water, but we knew that before travelling to DR), paddle boats, kayaks, trampoline. Great watersports staff. Amazing beach. Spectacular views, soft sand, no rocks. The only thing that would make this beach better would be more beach chairs/beds/umbrellas, and a place to get drinks. Then I could have stayed all day!
The pools: The main pool is very active. Club music all day.Too loud the first day (we had to leave) but by the second day they had adjusted the volume. The activities staff are adorable, but we were not fans of the almost-forced participation in balloon games, and other activities.
Other activities: This hotel does offer a nice selection of evening activities: Movies on the beach at night, Monday night football, shows/activities in the Love Bar each night, yoga in the mornings. Very good choices. We didn't do much, but peeked in on a few events.
Excursions: Don't usually do too many of these but... did the Dune Buggy tour ("Boogie" Tour as they call it!) by SCAPE CAP CANA with another couple from the hotel. It was great to see some interesting sights, meet some locals, see the famous Blue Hole. I highly recommend it.
Casino: DON'T GO! We went one night when we saw two other couples there. My husband who used to live on his casino winnings when we was younger, won two hands of blackjack then lost 18 in a row for a total loss of $150 in LESS THAN TEN MINUTES! His drink order hadn't even arrived by that time! The dealer got "21" probably 15 of those 18 times. It was almost impossible to believe. The other two couples lost a lot too, so...believe what you read on Trip Advisor and stay away!
Other good/great points: Twice daily room cleaning/turn down/replacement of towels, nice little stores and more being built, FANTASTIC staff, GORGEOUS property.
Overall, this hotel is definitely in transition. I think once they finish the renovations and new construction the resort will be even better. Other suggestions I have: bring in a chef to overhaul the menus at the restaurants, upgrade the food quality (even if the rates go up). Add more choices to the room service menu (food and drink choices), work on water temperature, get new mini bar refrigerators (they just don't cool the drinks well), add signs with arrows to certain places (like the Ocean Bar!). They really need to determine who is their target clientele. It seems like they want to be more high end but are lowering prices to get occupancy. My husband wants to return again. I want to try a few other resorts like Casa Colonial and Zoetry before we go here again. I also want to wait until I know certain changes have been made. We probably would only go again in the winter so that the other guests might be a little more refined (read: less drunk and a little classier in behavior). we didn't get to meet Carlos but did see him working with staff on property. Carlos, your staff is amazing and this property has the potential to be amazing.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank PeanutPopcorn1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SecretsSanctuaryCC, General Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts, responded to this reviewResponded September 21, 2010

Dear Guest

Thank you for your comments and taking the time to share your experience with us. We were under the impression we had resolved your issues to your satisfaction at the time it was brought to our attention. We pride ourselves on providing genuine, caring service and apologize that the stay did not meet your expectations. We will continue to work and focus on the areas of opportunities you have mentioned.

Once again thank you very much for your comments and for selecting our hotel.

Best Regards

Carlos A Del Pino
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
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: $349 - $809 (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 
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Sanctuary Cap Cana Hotel Punta Cana
Sanctuary Cap Cana Resort

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