sigh. My husband and I checked into Sanctuary yesterday and have spent the last hour trying to find a place nearby that has nicer beaches to switch to.
All we wanted was gorgeous, white sand beaches that we could relax on. The hotel's website boasts 3 miles of pristine beaches, but we haven't found that yet. We arrived around 4p and immediately went to see the beach, but it was covered in brown seaweed. We asked if it gets combed and they said yes, every morning... well, I think they need to comb it every morning AND every afternoon. This morning around 10a we walked out to see how nice it would look once it was combed and were disappointed to find the seaweed got worse since the day before and there were 2 guys with rakes and wheel burrows just starting the process. It's now 11a and they still aren't even close to finishing and I know they are working very hard, but even after it's raked it doesn't look pristine. :(
The water is a murky turquoise (check out google maps and you can see on the satellite view that it's not crystal clear turquoise) and the beach is literally about 1/8 mile long, not 3 miles. They tell people about the public beach Juanillo Beach next door, but it was packed with people, loud music, way more seaweed than the hotel's beach and it SMELLS terrible. It smells like rotten seaweed. :( :( :(
We travel a lot and on this trip the one and only thing we were looking for was a gorgeous beach and tranquility. I will say, it is tranquil, but it is far from a gorgeous beach. I've seen much prettier beaches in North Carolina.
A couple other negative points - most of the rooms smell like mildew. It is incredibly humid down here, so I can understand why, but mildew smell is gross. We upgraded to a beach front room and feel like we got jipped because what they call a "beach front junior suite" is actually on sand, but in a sand garden type of area where you look at other buildings, palm trees, and volleyball nets.
The service is amazing amazing amazing. Really - every single staff member is smiling and genuinely looks happy and they go out of their way to help. They switched us to an ocean front room in the castle, which, if you're going to stay here, stay in the castle rooms - the rest of the rooms are just cheesy, old-looking, and smelly. Our castle room still smells like mildew unfortunately and I am now all stuffed up because of it.
The food has been very good as well. Breakfast this morning had a nice selection and all tasted good. The dinner last night at the Italian restaurant was the same - good quality, excellent service.
It's weird... this place is really nice - the pools could be bigger, but they are nice and clean. The chairs and patio furniture is all nice looking, quality furniture and walking around, it's really impressive.... but if you're looking for a nice beach, do not go here, you will be disappointed like we are.
Oh! And the hotel says it's ADULTS ONLY... but there are a BUNCH of kids here. It is NOT adults only anymore and no one apologized that there are kids running around everywhere.
Overall, we are pretty disappointed that we just dropped $5k+ on a 5 day trip... we feel this hotel is a overpriced for what you get. It's lacking something and we just don't know what. Oh, it also says it has yoga and Pilates... but they don't, they just have a small open room where you can do it on your own if you want.
This is not a 5-day $5,000 trip - most, I'd say $1,800. We went to Dreams Tulum in Mexico and spent about $2,300 for 5 days and that hotel is far, far superior to this one in every area - beach, rooms, pools, choices in restaurants.
Oh - and it says all inclusive, and if you go to their website, they make it sound like you can go to the restaurants at their Fishing Village nearby, which sound like nicer restaurants, but alas, that is also incorrect.
On their website they need to make the following changes:
- not 3 mi of pristine beaches, it's 1/8 mile of okay beaches
- not adults only
- all-inclusive is only for 3 restaurants at Sanctuary (that aren't all always open)
- the beach-front suites are not actually beach-front, they are garden-back of another villa-front suites
- most of the resorts coast line is rock and un-swimmable, and not sandy beach
- no yoga, no Pilates equipment
most rooms smell like mildew. Stay in the castle to at least lessen the mildew smell
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC