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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #38 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed February 7, 2011

My husband and I were here in January for our honeymoon and had such a fabulous time that we purchased a membership to AM Resorts so that we can continue to visit this resort and other Secrets locations.

The staff were AMAZING; super friendly, went out of their way to please you and we were impressed with the number of staff who spoke English so well. Christian, Ricardo, and Jarlin at the front desk were always there to answer our questions and make sure that we were enjoying our trip. Marco checked in with us to ensure that his staff was meeting our needs. At all but one meal we saw the Dir. of Food and he frequently checked in with us as well.

Some of my favorite food items that I can recall as I write this are the empanadas, filet, chocolate truffle and coconut ice cream at the Steak House; the mushroom risotto at the Italian restaurant, everything at the Wok; the fresh fruit smoothies, omelets station, mashed plantains, and tropical fruit at breakfast; and the ceviche at the Blue Marlin.

One of the many highlights was a wonderful couples massage in the gorgeous new spa. Raquel was so great that I booked a second treatment with her and enjoyed my 50 minute facial even more than my massage!

We found the resort to be so relaxing, that we decided not to book one excursion as we didn't want to miss a minute being at SSCC. Bernando and the rest of the bar tenders were friendly and did a great job remembering what we liked to drink. Just remember to specify a certain liquor if you don't want to be served the bottom of the cheap stuff.

Our villa was amazing! It was clean (maid service three times a day), we enjoyed turn down service daily, and had more than enough room to unpack and feel like we were staying at our own private home. Our maid was the sweetest woman, and although she didn't speak much English, we still managed to communicate just fine.

Overall, we found this trip to be very relaxing. The beaches, the service, the food, the people and views were all impressive. I have already recommended this resort to many people and can't wait to return myself!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jltempest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarcoPena, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2011

Dear Guest,

We also wish to send out a big HOLA from Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana.

The employees that you mentioned in your review are thrilled to hear that they were mentioned on trip advisor by name. Thank you so much as this is a great tool to assist us in motivating our staff.

Once again, thank you for your post, we look forward to catering to you on a future visit.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Rooms Division Manager
mapena@secretsresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,985 - 3,991 of 4,860 reviews

Reviewed February 7, 2011

We enjoyed the entrie property. The Castle swim-in were beautiful. A little walk from the main dining/swimming areas but had its own swimming pool and bar. .

  • Stayed: January 2011
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Thank jwwellard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarcoPena, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2011

Dear Guest,

Greetings from warm and sunny Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana.

Thank you for your recent review on Trip Advisor, it was our pleasure to host you as a guest at our resort.

We appreciate the feedback, we look forward to your return visit.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Rooms Division Manager
mapena@secretsresorts.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2011

We recently returned from a wonderful vacation at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana. While our room was very comfortable and attractive---separate sitting area and lovely balcony overlooking the ocean---and the beach and pool very pleasant and clean, with watersports and aquabics available, the outstanding feature was the friendly and caring staff who went out of their way to please every guest.When we first arrived, tired seniors, Fernando insisted on giving us a room that was easily accessible,although we hadn't requested this. The concierges, Jarlin, Kary, Christian, and Joabe were terrific, writing a birthday card for me in Spanish and decorating our room with balloons and banners. David, in charge of catering, and Ethel, who provided us with decadent chocolate treats,would visit each of the four restaurants every meal to see that all went well. We would begin our day with a wonderful breakfast overseen by the ever watchful and charming Raoul. The restaurant hostesses, Greicy, Katerina,Yoli,Catelina, and Carilis always tried to find us the best table they could, while waiters such as Boris and Kelvin , who were interesting and fun to talk to, never failed to remember what drinks we liked, and when we liked them served, etc., etc. Bambino, in charge of entertainment , and his two assistants, deserve much credit for arranging delightful shows every night, featuring dancers, singers ,a magician, movies, etc. And I will always fondly remember Oscar, one of the beach boys, who would greet me every morning with a big smile,and assure me with hand gestures and the one word "sombra" (shade) that he would try to find two cots for us that were not in the sun.
We have wonderful memories of an "excellente" holiday spent in a great resort amongst kind and caring friends.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank maxsybil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarcoPena, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded February 5, 2011

Dear Guest,

Greetings from warm and sunny Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana, we thank you for your recent review on trip advisor.

In addition, warm regards from Fernando, Jarlin, Kary, Christian, Joabe, David, Ethel, Raul, Greicy, Katerina,Yoli,Catelina, Carilis, Boris, Kelvin, Bambino and Oscar. They all miss you dearly and spent a week missing you after your departure.

Once again, on behalf of the entire staff we thank you and wish for your prompt return.

Have an EXCELLENTE day.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Rooms Division Manager
mapena@secretsresorts.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2011

I read lots of great reviews for this place. So to be fair, here's my first 24 hours that was consistent with the whole trip.

I booked this hotel because 1) it sold itself as a 5 star unlimited luxury hotel and 2) the reviews were great on this site. Just to be clear, when I think 5 star, I think Four Seasons, The Fairmont, St. Regis, etc. In other words, white glove service, well-informed staff, superior rooms and facilities.

When my bf and I arrived at the hotel, the reception area was a zoo. We had to wait about 30 minutes to finalize check-in. When we finally reached the desk, we were greeted with smiles - which was nice - and told we arrived too early for the room to be ready. No problem. Reception told us to get lunch and shooed us to receive another customer. No directions, information, nor tour.

So we guessed our way past the pool where pop music was blaring from the speakers, and to the Blue Marlin located on a "pier." It was great to sit and enjoy the sea breeze. Pretty view but awful food. I ordered the fish and it was greasy and salty. Fries were obviously pre-made ones you get from the frozen aisle of the market. My bf peeled off the American cheese from his club sandwich. Didn't feel like a 5 star lunch.

We went back to reception and again, we had to wait a while to check in. After another 30 minutes, we hopped on the golf cart where a staff member drove us to our room. No tour, no directions of where restaurants and other facilities were. Silence the whole way. We got to our room and walked in on the maids cleaning. We waited around for another 15 minutes, hanging out as they hastily finished. One sloshed dirty cleaning water on my foot. Can't imagine the Sofitel making the same mistake.

The room was large but disappointing. Dated furniture and layout. The bathroom was a little cramped but the size was OK. The faucets over the sink were completely crooked, the tub was small, and they only provided shampoo. Later in the night, we discovered the shower leaking in 3 different places - so badly that it flooded the bathroom floor. Now, can you imagine the Mandarin Oriental providing only shampoo? Or having a laughably defective utility?

We went to the beach and getting there, we cracked up. On the brochure, the beach looks expansive and show a couple riding horses. What a lie. I'm a golfer and I know for a fact that the beach could not have been more than 30 yards long. My bf had equestrian training his whole life and there's no way they would allow horses on a tiny strip of beach like that - it's just too dangerous. Anyway, we grabbed towels ourselves because there was absolutely no beach service and grabbed drinks ourselves - again, because there was absolutely no beach service.

The beach itself is dirty. I wish they could groom the beach, take out the seaweeds. We soaked in some rays and stayed there for a couple of hours. Again, no beach service. Doesn't really sound like the Rosewood to me.

The drinks were horrible. My bf got his standard vodka tonic. He took a sip and spat it out. Then laughed saying that the vodka was a worse quality than he had in his college days. The drink of the day was some frozen fruit drink and the pre-made mix really really bad.

It was getting late and we decided to take a tour around the resort. On our way, next to the pool were activities posted up. Beer pong and darts were two of them. My bf and I cracked up again. Can you imagine beer pong and darts being played at the Ritz Carlton in any tropical island?

We walked all around. I was especially excited to see the "private island". It turned out nothing more than a man-made ditch to make a piece of land an "island". That's a fine idea but I wish they took more pride in their work. The seaweed had gathered on the ditch and it was obvious they didn't clean it regularly. You could really smell the rot from 3 stories up. Also, there's a fantastic view of construction hugging the north part of the resort.

Dinner was at the Italian restaurant. We were instructed to dress "business casual" as this was a fancier restaurant than any at the resort. The decor of the restaurant was awful. At least the food matched the decor. Caesar salad was bland, the cioppino was the worst I ever had in my life. The food was all greasy and salty again

During the dinner, there were some entertainers who went around table to table, singing. When they approached our table and finished their 10 second song, they tried selling CDs and asked for tips. When they moved on, my bf and I looked at each other and he said "before you say anything, yes, that did just happen." I ask you - can you imagine this happening while eating at the St. Regis? Or any Michelin rated restaurant?

After dinner, we decided to stop at a lounge called "The Piano Bar". When I think piano bar, I think a cool cocktail lounge with a grand piano, people dressed trendy-casual. Turned out it was nothing more than a sports bar. The projector screened a football game and people in their jerseys actually had their feet up over the piano. We walked right back out and we were literally on the floor laughing at the absurdity of it all.

Can you really imagine this at any Fairmont Hotel?

We turned in for the night. No turn-down service. I can't recall any 5 star hotel failing on turn-down service. But I wasn't surprised.

Also, walking in that moment was when we realized there was a BIG mildew problem. I guess the bleach smell before masked the odor. We decided to talk to the hotel about it tomorrow as we were beat. But my bf did have a problem sleeping because of it.

The resort did have an impressive number of channels, starz and hbo included. We caught up on several series.

The next morning, my bf and I sat at the pool area. Construction noise was annoying. After about 20 minutes, a server came up to us, addressed us as "amigos" and insisted we give him high-fives. That's cool. He wasn't the only server that did that. In fact, several staff-members insisted on this last night as we were taking a stroll, exploring the resort. He took drink orders, took a while to get them to us. We were planning to get another round and planned to tip him after that - but when he didn't receive the tip right away, he didn't come back to us again.

Again, the same question - can you really imagine a Four Seasons staff member insisting on giving you high-fives and calling you "buddy"? And then getting pissy when we didn't tip him right after one round? I mean, I don't care and the high-five thing is cute, but it's not a 5 star attitude.

Our stay didn't change much after that. The great thing was we were out after the second night. Here are some other quick comments.

- staff is friendly but friendliness and service are fundamentally different things. It's great to have friendly service, but when I think of 5 star service, I think top-notch, informative, efficient service. There's a real ignorance here and it's really not the staff's fault; more the management that trains them.
- To be fair, I did hear people rave about this resort. I repeatedly heard "isn't it awesome you can get unlimited beer??" and "dude, I'm so going to win that darts tournament later, it's so cool they actually have games like that." Also once "that <insert waiter's name> is pretty cool. Yeah, he's gonna join us drinking later." Not my style but to some people, it is what they are looking for.
- Most staff members barely spoke English. This would be fine since we were in another country, but c'mon... for 800/night, English should be part of the service.
- Also, to be fair, I've never been in an all-inclusive before. Maybe this is the problem. I don't know if 5 star all-inclusives are generally as tacky as this or if this is truly an awful resort.
- Just to give a background, my bf and I are in our late 20s. We travel frequently, splurge on some occasions, save on others. If Secrets re-rated themselves as a 3 stars, then I'd actually give this place a higher rating.
- If I was 15 years old and my parents brought me here, I'd probably think they were the coolest parents in the world. I'd drink gross cocktails and participate in beer pong. But now that I'm actually an adult...

In conclusion, this resort was a complete waste of my time and money. For over 800/night and their incessant claims of being a "luxury" resort, I expected decent food, service, and amenities. They failed on all accounts. I felt scammed to be honest. They claim they are a true five star resort. The question came up again and again - do they really think they rival a five star? Do they really think they're rivaling a Four Seasons? The Waldorf? The Peninsula Hotel? C'mon, let's get on with reality.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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21  Thank PenKanala
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarcoPena, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded February 5, 2011

Dear Guest,

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for sharing your point of you with regard to our resort and for your positng on trip advisor, it is certainly appreciated. In addition, I would like to extend our sincerest apologies for any inconveniences that you experienced at our resort. This sort of review saddens me greatly, I say to myself how is it possible for this guest to have this sort of experience at our resort?

We cater to thousands of travlers each year and typically most of our guest leave here completely satisfied with plans to return. Are we perfect? absolutely not, but I can tell you that the 350 employees at the resort are dedicated to providing exceptional service and create special memories for our guest.

City hotels and resorts breathe two different atmospheres, especially in the Caribbean or better yet in the Dominican Republic, it is their nature to be super friendly. We try very hard to create a relaxed and yet fun enviroment for the mixed variety of guest that we cater to in the resort. We spend a lot of time and effort to teach our employees a second language (ENGLISH) to ensure quality service. We even have onsite an english professor that tutors our employees each day to better communication with our guest.

Furthermore, I would have really appreciated if we met during your stay and perhaps we could have turned this around for you to ensure that you had the vacation that you deserved. Some of the suggestions that you have mentioned in your review has been discussed upon the executives of the resort and staff.

Once again, thank you for your comments and suggestions, we hope that we have a second opportunity to cater to your needs and demonstrate the quality of service that you deserve.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Rooms Division Manager
mapena@secretsresorts.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2011

We have been to 5 other resorts in Mexico and Jamaica (all 5 Star). Those are all really nice but this one is in a different class. We came here on our Honeymoon and had our own private pool. The rooms are AMAZING, the resort is pristine and new. The best part is there is only 175 rooms so things are very quiet and romantic there. Service was top notch!!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank cspencert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarcoPena, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded February 5, 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your recent posting on Trip Advisor, we appreciate you sharing your experience with future Honeymooners. Also, I agree with you that because we only have 176 guestrooms and the property is huge it gives our guest more space to enjoy the beauty of the resort.

Once again, thank you and our warmest regards from the entire staff at Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Rooms Division Manager
mapena@secretsresorts.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2011

Beautiful beach with gentle ocean
Luxurious accomodations w/ beautifuol appointments
Extraordinary, competent and caring staff
Excellant facilities

Everything you would want in a Caribbean resort vacation...and more

Only downside is the absence of tennis and a casino that is always empty.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank msokol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarcoPena, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2011

Dear Guest,

Warm regards from Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana.

Thank you for sharing your experience with future travlers, we appreciate the feedback.

Look forward to your prompt return.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Rooms Division Manager
mapena@secretsresorts.com

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2011

As I sit here snowed in thinking of how I will get to work even tomorrow, I can't help but daydream of being back at this breathtaking resort. Let me tell you if you go to Secrets Sanctuary you will not be dissapointed. We have traveled to a number of resorts in the Carribean, and I can say this is our favorite one. It may have been the spectacular views, the wonderful food or the privacy of the beaches. I think looking back it was the amazing staff that made our trip. Special thanks to Miami, Willy, Alex, Bambino and countless others that were so diligent and fun to be around. We can't wait to come back. I have reccomended this resort already and will continue to tell anyone who will listen.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank megphelps84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarcoPena, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this reviewResponded February 3, 2011

Dear Guest,

Greetings from Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana.

Thank you for your EXCELLENTE review we greatly appreciate your input and information.

The entertainment staff Miami, Willy, Alex and Bambino send their warm regards.

On behalf of the entire staff at Secrets Sanctuary Capa Cana we thank you for staying with us and for sharing your comments with future guest.

Sincerely,

Marco Pena
Rooms Divison Manager
mapena@secretsresorts.com

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 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
#34 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#34 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $319 - $714 (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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