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“Beautiful and relaxing”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #41 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Kensington, Maryland
Level Contributor
97 reviews
68 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Beautiful and relaxing”
Reviewed 14 April 2012

My wife and our two boys 7 and 10 spent 5 nights at the Sanctuary. It is in an absolutely beautiful though somewhat isolated setting. While there occupancy was less than 10% as there recently has been a change of ownership so I can't say that our stay will be perfectly representative as business in the future will almost certainly pick up.

We landed in Punta Cana early afternoon. The airport is no picnic with long lines to pay an entry fee then clear customs (almost 90 minutes). From there, a cab ride to the Sanctuary is 20 minutes and costs $30 (US dollars are welcome everywhere). Cap Cana is a gated area currently being developed. The Sanctuary is every bit of 5 miles past the checkpoint. Upon arriving, check in is fast and friendly. We stayed in room 1026 which was a spectacular 2 bedroom villa with private balcony on the ocean and its own infinity pool. You are taken to rooms/villas by golf cart.

Our room was very clean and well cared for as were the grounds. There are many pools, all lovely. Two main central pools, one with a swim up bar as well as an additional pool at the castle also overlooking the sea. The beach is small and the water shallow and still. Seaweed accumulates throughout the day and the beach is re-groomed each morning. There is also a public beach immediately outside the castle with bars and locals having fun. It feels very safe on the public beach even at dusk.

There is little to do other than relax by the pool and sea. The gym is nice and very under utilized (I was the only one there every day). Plenty of new Lifefitness equipment. There are 4 restaurants as well as room service and pool side dining. However, as occupancy was low they only opened two each evening. The Blue Marlin which has some standard fare and caribbean food was quite good and outdoors on the water. The fresh Pompano and cevice were both fantastic. The italian restaurant was mediocre and asian food quite bad but not inedible. Breakfasts were absolutely fantastic with incredible tropical fruits and fresh juices.

There was absolutely no nightlife there which was fine for us but might be considered dull by some. Staff was incredibly friendly. There were a few small annoyances such as no conditioner or lotion in the rooms. Also, although our villa was incredible we got it at an incredible discount. Had we not, the villa was over $1400 a night and for that kind of money there certainly were small details missed. However, if a quite piece of paradise with little to do and lovely staff is what one needs, Sanctuary Cap Cana is worth consideration.

Room Tip: If occupancy is low consider bartering for an upgrade. The high end rooms in the resort are truly i...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank Hivedoc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SalamanderHotelsPR, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, 15 May 2012
Thank you for staying at Sanctuary Cap Cana with your family this past April!

It is a great pleasure to learn that your overall "Sanctuary Experience" was so enjoyable and at same time memorable for your family.

We highly appreciate your detailed review, we trust it will help other readers to learn more about our facilities and services.

We sincerely apologize for the small details that we missed to fully exceed your expectations. We hope that if the future brings around Punta Cana sometime soon, that you return to give us the opportunity to serve you and your family again.
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English first
Los Angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 April 2012

It was my first visit to the Cap Cana Sanctuary Resort I can affirm that it certainly be my last. I went with my Family and with some friends from LA. To say that we had a great time is an understatement! The spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea, their facilities, inspired in the Colonial era, are the perfect frame to relax, let go and enjoy. The food in all restaurants are superb. I give it 5 stars. I was not let down in any way, shape or form, more so, it beyond exceeded my expectations! It was one of my favorite Spring break/Easter Holiday vacation in a long time. I will definitely be back!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Katherine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SalamanderHotelsPR, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, 11 May 2012
Thank you for your wonderful feedback regarding your first visit to Sanctuary Cap Cana.
It is of great pleasure to learn that we have exceeded your expectations and that we have provided such an unforgettable experience.

Thank you detailing our architectural design, our overall facility and very specially the food.

We look forward to greeting again during next year’s Spring Break!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 April 2012

The only thing that prevents this resort from gaining a 5 out of 5 is that the beach is short and rocky. Otherwise, the resort met all my needs

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TakeoverVet528
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SalamanderHotelsPR, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, 11 May 2012
Thank you for your very important and constructive comment regarding Sanctuary Cap Cana!

We are currently initiating a project that will help us determine how and what we can do to improve our beach facility. We hope that when this is all settled, we have the opportunity to have a beach that complements our wonderful hotel.

See you soon!
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Puerto Rico
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

Did not stay at the Hotel but visited the facilities during the day. The beach area is great and the service at the main pool is just fantastic. The staff is fun and welcoming, with world class service. If you are looking for great and fun service, just make sure you locate Carlos and John. They arthe best!!

Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank SimmyTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SalamanderHotelsPR, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, 11 May 2012
Thank you for your comment regarding your recent visit to Sanctuary Cap Cana! You note is greatly appreciated by all of us.

As you have kindly commented, even though you were not staying on property but only visited us during the day, we were able to provide you with a memorable Sanctuary experience as we want every guest to have when they visit us.

We truly hope that when you return to the Punta Cana, you give us the opportunity to serve you for a longer period of time.

Thank you for your time, we hope to see you soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Heron
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

My wife and I just returned from a 6 night stay at the Sanctuary and had a wonderful time. The food and service is amazing. The staff are all very friendly and helpful. The ocean view jr suit was very nice and clean with great ocean views. Turn down service was a nice touch when returning to our room for the night.
Probably the thing we enjoyed the most was being able to take walks on the adjoining beaches which on week days had little to no people.
I've read some reviews that complain about the water being murky and lots of seaweed, but it's really not that bad, there is usually some seaweed on the beach at the waterline which the workers try to keep clean but is pretty hard to keep after, as for the murky water it may be a little cloudy right where the wave hits the sand which is to be expected since the sand is so incredibly soft and white.
The color of the ocean is simply unbelievable changing colors of blue as it disappears into the horizon!
Another thing we enjoyed is the beautiful architecture, alot of thought went into designing this resort, no matter where you are there is some thing interesting to see.
This is not a party resort and is more geared to be a romantic couples resort so young people and singles may not enjoy it so much.
We have been to other resorts but this is one we would love to return to!

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank Jethro W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SalamanderHotelsPR, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, 12 April 2012
Thank you for staying at Sanctuary Cap Cana with your wife recently.

It is of great honor to us to receive a review like this one that you have kindly shared with us. We are delighted to read that your Sanctuary experience was so nice and memorable.

We thank you for your compliments and for appreciating the efforts of our staff to transform this stay for you as an unforgettable one.

We would "Love" to have you back at our resort soon and once again "Exceed your Expectations"!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 April 2012

We stayed at the Sanctuary for 7 days at the beginning of April 12.

We had a really nice time there. We stayed in a Castle junior suite Swim out which was a very good choice. There are only 9 rooms that share that pool which make it very comfy and quiet. There is no walkway in front of the pool and you can see the ocean from your room/terrace. What a great view!

One thing which is important to remember is the resort is no more Adults Only. However, we have been told that the Castle still is. One night, we had a large family that spent some time at the lounge bar (located in the Castle) but after asking to the bartender, they have been asked to get out. But if you do not say anything, they can let families come in! They really should put notice saying "No Child allows in the Castle) That would be much better!!
About notice, it is a bit difficult to navigate in the resort since there is a huge lack of indication.
The resort's beach is very small and not that beautiful but you can enjoy very nice beaches on each side of the resort (public beaches but no one there during the week days).

Regarding drinks and food, there is a minibar in the room with soft and local beers and a Nespresso Coffee machine. It is fill up every morning.
Room Service is 24/7 and offers a large choice of products. It is very good.

For breakfeast, you can either order room service or eat at the buffet which does not offer a larger choice. We did not really like eating there since the choice is very limited and everything is very formal. (especially because you have to sign a bill every time you get something and it can takes long minutes to get it; I will go back to this point later). We did order room service every morning.

For lunch, choice is also restricted. You can eat at the Blue Marlin Restaurant, which is located ON the water and offer an amazing view! The menu is quite extensive and everyone can enjoy it (fish, meat, burgers, salads, deserts,...). You can also order room service. We enjoyed having the possibility to get it near the pool, at the lounge bar. But please if you do so, thanks to bring all your plates back to the bar. It is fair for the bartender and for other guest who do not have to "enjoy" your trash all day long. Same thing for towels, put them in the dedicated bin!

For dinner, there are only two restaurants open every night. Those restaurants change every day. We tried the steakhouse and did not like it at all. No taste!! The Blue Marlin on the Ocean is also open some nights, it is seafood and consequently only have one choice of no seafood. For those who want/like seafood, the menu is different from the lunch menu.
There is also an italian restaurant named the Cappricio, which is average italian food.
The last restaurant is japanese/Chinese. The wok is located at the entrance of the castle and is laid on a small pool. The view is really nice and food is ok.
Be careful, some courses are not included in the All-Inclusive package such as Paella and Lobster and it is not clear when looking at the menu.

Food has really been our only deception at the resort. We went to the Secrets royal beach on august 2011 and the food there was much better!

On the other hand, drinks and cocktails are very good. They do offer premium brand alcohol and importer beers.

The lounge bar in the Castle is really great. It is open from 11AM to 10PM. This is a really quiet place with a wonderful view and a nice pool. There is only 7 deck chairs and has services around the pool.

The love bar, located close to the reception is open from 6pm to 1AM. This is the place where shows take place every night but is a bit loud.

A very good thing is a Free Wifi available at every restaurant/bar and a few computers are available in the reception building. Also, you can get cash at the reception (good for tips). You can even get it using your credit card.

Since october 1st, the resort is not only all-inclusive. Some people stay there with a European Plan. To avoid to have bracelets, you do have to sign a bill every time you get something, even a bottle of water. You can tip directly on those bills and get billed at the end of your trip. We did not do that. We always put 0 in the tips box and gave cash directly to the person.

Even if we really had a nice time there and we will definitely come back, It is clearly not a 5 star hotel for some reasons:
-They are not focused on details like they should
-Some guest behave like they were staying in cheap hotel. Dress code for restaurants are not really followed, kids in the castle, they let everything (towels, room service trash) when leaving their beach/pool chairs and so, other guest cannot use those empty deck chairs
Clearly, this is not a Four Seasons or a Mandarin Oriental. Just one example which may look idiot but there is no moisturizing cream in the room.

A few thing to end this report:
-You can ask for a bell boy to give you a tour of the resort aboard a golf kart.
-There is no umbrella on the resort's beach
-There are some souvenir shop as well as high end retail boutique.
-DR is a spanish speaking country. I really do not understand how you can be upset about their english. Moreover most of employees speak very well more than some of you would be ever available to speak spanish or any language!

We will definitely be back very soon! This time either we will get a swim out room again or a honeymoon suite with private pool located in the castle and which looks amazing too!

Last tip: We used enjoypuntacana.com for private transportation from/to the airport. They do offer great service at affordable price!

Room Tip: Get a room in the Castle if you travel in couple. It is Adults Only! Swim out room (huge pool is onl...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Simon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fairfax, Virginia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2012

Beautiful resort. Good food. Great service EXCEPT Spa service.
My girlfriend and I made appointment for manicure, the "manicurist"didn't seem to know what she was doing. We changed to nail polish instead. After removing our old polish, she applied new colr without filing our nails washing our nails, nor applying a base coat or protective coat with our nail polish change.

Unbelievable awful experience - we paid $15 per person for our nail polish change.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 5StarTraveer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SalamanderHotelsPR, Manager at Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol, responded to this review, 12 April 2012
Thank you for visiting Sanctuary Cap Cana's Spa.

Thank you for our feedback, we are very sorry to read that your experience was not up to the level that we intend to be at and we assure you that we will take your review as an improvement tool to make sure that this does not happen again with any other guest.

We hope that we have a second opportunity to better serve you at our spa and that your next experience is completely different to this one.
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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

Property: Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Address: Boulevard Zona Hotelera, Playa Juanillo, Punta Cana 0809, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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
#37 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#37 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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