My wife and I recently stayed at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana for our 20th Wedding Anniversary and I would describe SSCC as an “up and coming” resort. The progress that the staff and management has made since this resort became a full-time all-inclusive in April 2010 is spectacular. We encountered one couple who were at the resort this past April and had rave reviews for the changes made in such a short time.
I will try not to repeat what other posters have stated about this resort and I will strive to give you a different perspective about this resort.
While you can nit-pick this resort to death as some other reviewers have I almost think you have to almost work at having a bad time at this resort. My wife have been to all-inclusive resorts such as Diamond Cozemel , Ciboney Ocho Rios and Wyndham St.Lucia (all three no longer exist); Beaches Turks & Caicos (visited twice) and El Dorado Royale, Secrets Capri and Royal Hideaway (all in the Mexican Maya Riviera) so we have experienced the full spectrum of all-inclusive resorts.
We were originally booked for a Castle Junior Suite Swim-Out room but due to construction of the new spa we were switched to a much superior accommodation. Only after exploring the fortress and finding the construction site did we hear any noise. Any construction noise was negligible and construction was limited to during the day while most guests are the pool or on excursions. The resort is taking great strides to keep noise down to a minimum.
Nowhere else have I seen management so accessible and willing to address any problems that you may have as I have seen at SSCC. Before you even step foot on the property you can find the manager of the resort posting on the resort’s Facebook page and responding to reviews on TripAdvisor. On-site you can always find a member of the resort management walking the grounds. In fact, if you wish to find a member of the management team you can always find them at the weekly guests versus management volleyball game. This is where I met Carlos for the first time as I watched the game. My volleyball skills are abysmal so I abstained from participating but Carlos actually took time out between serves to introduce himself to me, shake my hand and ask if there were any problems with my stay.
I also encountered Cory the food & beverage manager and had several chats with him about the food and resort in general over the week. In speaking with Cory I found out that he has re-provisioned much of the food out of Atlanta, Georgia (USA) in order to get a better level of product consistency. His current goal is overcoming several cultural perceptions of the staff and getting the restaurants to provide a consistently excellent dining experience day in and day out.
I met a few guests who had a tough or rubbery steak at the David Crockett Steakhouse but I had the mixed grill twice there and found all the cuts in the selection to be excellent. I frequently attend a lot of vendor “dog & pony” shows for work at several steak houses in New York City like Ruth Criss, Morton’s, Bobby Van’s and actually found the quality of the mixed grill to be as good as, if not better than, the fare served at these Manhattan venues.
In my conversations with Cory I also found out that he plans on changing how the mini-bars in the rooms are resupplied after actually going out with his team and determining how inefficient the current process is. He plans on ordering rolling cages to pre-position throughout the resort to speed up the resupply of the mini-bars.
Most of the problems that we did encounter at Secrets Sanctuary were tied to the physical plant and others are simply what I would call “fifteen minute” fixes. The previous owners took a few shortcuts with some of the construction of the resort and now some of those shortcuts are giving the Secrets staff an undeserved black eye. I have seen the staff debug an electrical nightmare, malfunctioning doors, broken or uninstalled (in the fortress) elevators, air conditioning odors and broken pipes. In no way should you think that the place is falling down but the Secrets engineering staff is diligently swatting every little Gremlin that pops up as promptly as they can while the management invests in upgrading the infrastructure they inherited when they took over the resort.
I must extend kudos to the engineering staff personally. One day during our stay the private pool on our balcony dropped a foot in depth and began making the worst sucking noise you could imagine. Within minutes of reporting the problem we had two engineers hopping the fence so as not to disturb us like two maintenance Ninjas. A few dashes to the bowels of the fortress and back by the staff the problem was remedied within the hour. You could have used these guys on the ServPro TV commercials because when they were done “it was like it never really happened”!
I found the staff to be very motivated and genuinely friendly. They are not friendly because they have to be or fishing for tips – the staff is truly friendly because they want to be! My wife and I had an in-depth conversation with one member of the staff who had worked for several resorts in Punta Cana prior to coming to Secrets Sanctuary. The staff member said that of all the resorts he has worked for in Punta Cana, he stated that Secrets Sanctuary treated him the best. This same employee postponed his days off in order to assist with a large group that was checking in when we were checking out of the resort.
Of the fifteen minute fixes I mentioned before I would recommend are: wiping the caps and tops of cans clean before being placed in the mini-bar (being addressed by Cory, the F&B manager); a bagel cutter in Casa Bella or pre-slice the Dominican Republic version of a bagel (I kept forgetting to mention this to Cory); better music at the pools – maybe a little more local Salsa and Meringue music too. The music at the Ocean club pool definitely needs upgrading. I get the Zen experience but some of the stuff is coma inducing. I would also suggest checking the music selection that plays in the restaurants too. Playing Italian music in the Wok restaurant can really kill the mood. Placing a chalk or marker board near the pool with a schedule of the daily events, what restaurants are open, etc. would help too instead of trying to remember where we placed “The Sundial” newsletter that is placed in our room each night.
I could go on with little criticisms of the resort but I think the foundation and dynamics are there for this resort to be a top tier contender in about a year. My wife and I would not hesitate to return to this resort – and we hope to do so as soon as we can.
- 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