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“Beautiful Wedding Location!”

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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #39 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful Wedding Location!”
Reviewed 22 December 2012

This was our second trip this year to Sanctuary (early December 2012). It is under management transition (Corey) and it is NO LESS amazing than our experience in May (the only difference was the mosquitos in december!!). The staff is outstanding and service oriented. The Blue Marlin is a fun place to eat and gather and the menu never gets old. We had a beach wedding and our reception was in the Palappa. The staff transformed it into a gorgeous and intimate setting for us and our guests (thank you Kary G and Victoria!). We had a villa on the beach and the rooms were clean and well cared for; the housekeeping staff was superb and met every request. Room service available 24h! Our wedding guests said this was the best vacation they had EVER had, and two of them live in Hawaii!!! We will be going back every year.

We used two vendors recommended by the hotel that we LOVED:

Therese McManus at CTS Travel services arranged a catamaran cruise for us post wedding on the Marine Caribe. Amazing crew and captain, amazing water, tremendous fun on the ocean! Two hot tubs on the catamaran and snorkeling. Abel Hernandez was our great CTS representative that day and took exceptional care of us! Our guests raved about this one and we will definitely do again.

PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Hands down recommendation for Martin and Sebastian from Ameztoy/Ambrogetti Photography (www.martinameztoy.com) in Bravaro, D.R. They met with us ahead of the wedding and took some of the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. Not only that, they are warm and personable and will tailor their approach to whatever you want. They are new lifelong friends and we can't stop looking at our pics!

Room Tip: we stayed in beach front villa and ocean view suites and loved both. I have never stayed in any of...
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
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3 Thank TeePBonner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 December 2012

We chose this resort as our wedding location and honey moon, Very very very happy with our experience. Managment, and staff are incredibly nice!! If you want a real vacation this is the place to come. Since we had our wedding there, I got to see a bunch of diferent suite options where our family where staying, and they are all very very nice.

Is another absolute 'yes' we are coming back to our upcoming anniversaries!!! In love with this resort!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Vanessabonilla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moreisville
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 December 2012 via mobile

Just for some background my wife and I went to Sanctuary the week of December 15th and booked a two-level castle suite with a private indoor pool. All-in-all we would rate this establishment as 4.4 out of 5 stars. The place could be five stars, with a little bit of work. Below are a few observations of the good, the bad, and the nitpicky. Please note that taking everything into consideration we will return here


.:Good:.
The service is definitely above par. Each person we encountered was polite, attentive and willing to go the extra mile. We had several maintenance issue which were resolved within a few minutes. In one case we had someone come fix a shower issue within four minutes. The resort is spread out and if you don't want to walk the staff will happily volunteer to transport you in a golf cart. The restaurant and bar staff are very pleasant and will do whatever they can to help you.

The resort is breathtaking. Everything is designed with aesthetics in mind. No matter where you go here flowers, elegant rock structures and high end finishes all around you. A lot of care went into the design of this resort.


.:Bad:.
The resort is rapidly becoming run down. It seems the managers are skimping on maintenance to save money. For example we had broken fixture in the shower, falling pieces off the rock walls, broken lights, broken Ethernet ports, scratched and dented floors and furniture, etc, etc. it is shame to see such a beautiful place falling apart.

Very limited dining options. Short of room service there is only one real restaurant option for lunch and dinner. Moreover, the menus do not seem to change within a given week so if you don't like the menu that is offered you will be somewhat isolated and hungry. The real irritation is that there are several restaurants, but they only open one!

One negative aspect we found (as did many others) is the minibar service. For whatever reason the person responsible for refilling he fridge failed to complete that task day in and day out. Even when we called the concierge and asked for it to be restocked nobody ever showed up. In the end we just kept calling room service and they took care of it.


.:Requests for Enhancement:.
This facility needs a technological upgrade. There is wifi in some of the restaurants and near the main pool but not in the rooms or other areas. It would not be difficult to put in a handful of repeaters and provide wireless everywhere. For your individual rooms i recommend bringing a router with you!

Provide heaters for the private pools. If you purchase a room with an indoor or outdoor pool you will notice the water us very cold - much cooler than ocean water. So unLess you like to polar bear swim the pool is somewhat useless unless you just came back from a run during the midday.


.:General Observations:.
The food and beverage prices here are highly expensive. With the current exchange rate a coke, beer or cocktail is about $10. A decent three course lunch (small portions) will run about $100 per couple ($150 for dinner). Now the reason this is not a complaint is because the quality and service is very good. But due to the isolated location and the prices I recommend getting the all inclusive package. We typically racked up about $350-400 per day worth of expenses, and by using the all inclusive package saved about $100 per day. If you are really on a budget this resort is not for you!

If you are a true beachcomber and like to take long walks, go running in the sand or go snorkeling this beach is not for you. There is very limited usable beachfront and the water is somewhat murky. The water is not a product of the resort, of course, but they could have provide much more swimable and usable sandy beach.

There is virtually nothing to do. Now personally I like to sit on the beach, swim and eat - but eventually something else needs to be added into the mix. There are a very limited number of other activities and any other type of activity or excursion is very expensive and operated independently.

There is no nightlife, or even mid-evening life here. All the pools close at 7pm and there are no lights on the beach meaning you have virtually no options. The dinner restaurant(s) open at 6:30 and there is one bar and one prescheduled evening activity after dinner. Otherwise, good luck on finding something to do.

Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
16 Thank Justin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ILLINOIS
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 187 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 December 2012 via mobile

Sanctuary Cap Cana is the place where I get my soul restored!!
We have visited this property 5 times and plans to return are underway! We are always amazed at how warm and wonderful the staff are! I am always in tears when we say our farewell at Sanctuary.
While we were there, management was changing again. We were happy to learn that former managers Carlos and Cory were taking over again. We look forward to the improvements that they will bring. The new website will soon be up and running and they are starting to bring the Facebook page to life!

Property: The property is stunning. Well maintained, clean, secure and very scenic. There are many different public areas on the property so it is easy to find a quiet place if you want one! The property is host to many different kinds of tropical trees, plants and flowers. There are also many incredible ocean views depending on where you are on the property.
The view from Ocean bar in the afternoon is my favorite!

Pools: The main pool is great. Easy access, big, clean and has a swim up bar. Chairs, loungers and tables are plentyful at the pool. There is also a quiet pool close by that has a waterfall wall which is a great place to read or nap. Pool bar offers food service from the Blue Marlin kitchen. There is also a small sunning pool up at Ocean bar. Some of the more elite rooms and villas also have private pools.

Restaurants: Casa Bella offers a great breakfast buffet. You can dine inside or out. Food presentation is excellent and there is a nice variety. Everything is fresh. We especially enjoy the made to order omelette. Service is the best!
The Blue Marlin is our place for lunch! It is an open air, casual restaurant located right on the water with a beautiful ocean view. They offer a great menu with many fresh selections. They are open for lunch and also dinner most nights.
They also have The Wok restaurant, a Steak House and an Italian restaurant. During low occupancy, not all restaurants are open each night but you usually have multiple choices throughout the week.

Beach: The main beach is small but clean and beautiful. There are a few beach beds and also cushioned loungers. On each end of the property is a different beach. One side is a public beach that is a great walking beach and the other side has a small, mostly deserted beach.

Staff: I cannot say enough kind words about the staff. They are truly remarkable Warm, wonderful, friendly, accommodating, loving and eager to please. They always remember us and welcome us back with open arms. They work long hours and you never hear them complain. They deal with all kinds of personalities and always manage to stay happy. Some of our favorites are Gillian, Carlos, Raul, Maria, Melvin, Bernardo, Morano, Yisel, Karry and Jose! We appreciate all of the great service from these special people!

Free wifi is available in the lobby, at the restaurants and the main pool. The resort has a couple small shops.
It is a great place for a destination wedding! There is a free shuttle that will transport you to Punta Espada golf course or to any of the other Cap Cana hotels or beaches.

This property is the perfect place if you are looking for a tranquil place to relax and enjoy life!
We will definately look forward to a return trip.

Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank bargainbetty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 December 2012

Our Shangri-La!

My husband and I stayed at Sanctuary from Nov 22 to Dec 1 to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. Even though we had some bumps along the way we are very happy we chose this resort. It was the perfect place for lots of rest and relaxation. Before I booked I did have some concerns regarding low occupancy, change of management and restaurant closures. I was also wondering what exactly other posters meant by so much potential. After our 9-day stay I now understand. I will try to clear something’s up. Sorry this is a long read.

Upon check in we negotiated an upgrade, which we were very happy with. We booked a Castle Junior Suite and upgraded to a 1 bedroom Castle Suite. We were extremely pleased with this room. It was a loft style with the living room on main floor with a powder room and bedroom/ensuite on the top floor with a huge side terrace and an outdoor pool with a sea view. It was absolutely breathtaking. We upgraded to this room especially to have an outdoor space with pool. We looked at the same unit with an indoor pool but it just wasn’t the experience we wanted. We had an issue with the safe not working but it was fixed quite promptly. Everything was going pretty good until the early morning hours of our second night when we noticed a bad odor coming from our bedroom ensuite. Before heading to breakfast we stopped at the front desk to express our concerns with this smell and the A/C wasn’t working very well. They told us they would have someone look into this. After being out the entire day we arrived back to the room only to find the smell had come downstairs and was quite strong. We called front desk and asked to deal directly with the gentleman who dealt with us on the upgrade. When he arrived he was less than enthusiastic about the problem and had my husband take the maintenance man up to the ensuite. I guess he didn’t want to deal with the smell. My husband had a hard time talking to the maintenance man because he didn’t speak any English. So that made it more annoying that the management didn’t take control of the situation. We refused to stay in the room because the smell had become very foul. The manager dealing with us became very quiet and didn’t really even look at us. We wanted a comparable room to what we had and he had nothing for that day. So he put us in the 1 bedroom with the indoor pool with really not a good view. We figured he would contact us to view another suite when it came available. He did not so after a couple of days we spoke to Jarlin who is Head of Concierge. She was very pleasant and understood where we coming from. She apologized for the other manager who chose to ignore us and told us she would speak to her boss and call us with an answer. By 7pm we were in an Imperial suite with a stunning 360-degree view and outdoor pool. It was heaven. She really came through for us. We are grateful to her for making the rest of our stay really comfortable. It was quite a hike to the Fortress and suite but it was always well worth it because the outdoor space was absolutely gorgeous. It was like being in the clouds it was amazing!! It is something that we will never forget and will make travelling anywhere else difficult because that outdoor space is very hard to come by. The negatives about the room are you can see they are in need of repair. The resort is 7 years old and is a bit worn here and there. I am a very picky traveller and was not to bothered by some of this. I also get a gross feeling staying at hotels but I didn’t feel like that here. Examples of this are some linens have holes, door handles are loose, hardwood floors are very worn and scratched and bathroom faucets work but they need replacing.

Maid service was excellent. They always left the room in great condition with lots of towels and little touches of flowers and towel art. We did not receive turn down. We noticed they came around 5pm, which to me is too early for this service. So we just put the “sshh” sign out and we were never bothered. One day my husband went to the room at around 3pm and it wasn’t cleaned. He just called them and it was done shortly thereafter. The mini bar was never restocked so we would just call room service and they would bring whatever you want. So not a big deal at all. The room fridge was never replenished. We would just call room service and order whatever we needed.

The landscaping at this resort is beautiful. The grounds are spectacular. The cobblestone walkways and stonewalls make you feel like you are somewhere in Europe. The details that went into constructing this are incredible. It’s a very special place and makes you feel instantly at peace. I’ve never seen my husband so relaxed even after having to move a couple of times. The landscapers are called Picky Plants and they also rake up the seaweed.

Food

We ordered breakfast room service a couple of times and it wasn’t very good at all. It was cold and the French toast was soggy. The pot of tea was full of warm milk. I will say every time we ordered water and hot tea at night it was always quick and the water was hot.

Casa Bella

This was the restaurant option for breakfast and it was great. The made to order eggs or waffles were hot and done excellent. They also have a buffet of fruit, cheese, cold meats and warmers with rosemary potatoes, bacon and sausage. Plenty to choose from. Loved my tea at breakfast it was always hot.

Blue Marlin

This was a lunch and/or dinner option. The food here was really good. Loved the lobster spring roll. For dinner we had the Lobster and it was fantastic every time.
It was lovely dining by the sea. The also had a chocolate lava cake for desert which was really good. One night they gave us a small menu of the Wok. I had sushi and it was quite good. Not sure why it had raisins. I just took them off.

Capriccio

This was the Italian restaurant. We really enjoyed it. I had the risotto, Bolognese lasagna and 4 cheese ravioli of course on different days. My husband enjoyed the Penne alfredo with sausage so much that’s all he ordered every time. Everything was done quit well for an AI.

Steak House

This was another dinner option, which we enjoyed very much. The sirloin was not good. It was very tough. The rib steak was better. Both were quite huge. We also loved the spinach dip and onion rings. What we really loved were the ribs. They were tender and spicy. They also had a brownie desert, which was good.


Beach

During our stay the beach was well maintained. There was seaweed but it was raked and piled. The beach is not for walking, as it is very small. But it’s wonderful for wading. The water is not clear because the sand is in constant motion. I’ve visited many beautiful beaches including Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands and Barbados and this beach does not compare. Even though I’ve been quite spoiled with those beaches this beach was lovely. We were able to enjoy the sea and cool off. The water wasn’t cold it was comfortable. I seen others get a drink on the beach but we were never offered any drinks or food. And as stated by past reviews Juanillo Beach is a jump skip and a hop away. That is a larger stretch of beach to walk on.

Pool/Service

The pools at this resort are really great. The service at the main pool was not existent. Not sure what the man walking around with a tray was really doing. He seemed to only approach certain people. We actually finally waved him over and he pointed to himself and looked at us like we had three heads. We gave up on Mr. Lazy (Sandro) and went to the bar ourselves for the rest of our trip. No problem but really hire someone who cares. The Ocean pool in the Fortress had way better service. The bar man actually came out and took orders and supplied room service menu’s. Wish I had his name. He was a delight!

Gym

The gym was well appointed but in need of a major scrub down. It was pretty disgusting actually. The floor needs to be ripped out and redone. The equipment is looking a tad worn but it worked and we were able to get a good workout. They also need to provide paper towel to clean off machines after use.

Misc.

A few of the public bathrooms need better cleaning and some repairs.
Having the Wok opened would have balanced our 9-day stay more. But do not worry there is plenty to choose from. We basically ate 3 times at each one and it was fine. Maybe they could have a Dominican night or beach BBQ to break it up. That would be fun.

The food was fresh and did not have the recycled taste to it. It was always fresh. We’ve been at some resorts where by the end we just can’t eat another bite of anything. We did not have this happen at Sanctuary!

Even though we had some bumps we really loved this resort. The service was always great and consistent for us. Everyone was friendly.

So we now understand “so much potential”. This resort with some TLC and a strong management team behind it could be so much more than it is. It’s a wonderful Sanctuary for some R & R but it needs that little extra boost to make it better. We actually got into a cottage to get out of the rain and it was destroyed. The room looked neglected and like it had been robbed. There was bird feces all over the bed and floors. It was a beautiful room. I’m assuming because of low occupancy that certain rooms and areas are being ignored. This is a great shame as this resort can be so successful. It is a romantic oasis just right for hosting weddings and couples. I know they allow kids now and during our stay it wasn’t a problem as they were well behaved. This has much to do with the parents, as they did not allow them to run wild and take over the pools. But personally they should gear towards couples. It’s just so romantic and peaceful.

Ah yes the other wedding party as mentioned in a recent review. On our last full day at this peaceful haven a wedding party arrived that that were a group of 80 of the vilest disgusting people I have ever encountered. And the women were worse than the immature men. Swearing across the pool and performing acts in the pool that should never had been done especially in front of children. It was such a display of the worse behavior we’ve encountered. We were lucky we had heaven to go to and enjoy our outdoor area. But we felt so bad for the other guests that had to put up with it. And it got worse and worse as the day went on. They turned that peaceful place upside down. It was so sad and a shame. I know this is out of the resorts hands I just hope at some point the management would have stepped in. If that had happened at the start of our trip and nothing was done I would have been really disappointed.

Would definitely visit again.

Room Tip: Negotiate an upgrade. You will be glad you did
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank SunStar42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 19 December 2012

Hello everybody, i stayed in this hotel a few weeks ago with David Ortiz Celebrity Golf and the experience was unforgetable, the rooms are incredible there are 14 categorys, 5 delicious restaurans, i cannot forget the pools especially at the Ocean Bar, this resort is more than 5 stars, you have complimentary transportation every where round Cap Cana, i visited punta Espada one of the most beautiful golf course in the caribbean.
All the staff in the hotel is very helpful all the time, i want to thank to (YISSEL DOCE) concierge, she was my translator during my stay.
If you want to pass a nice vacation with your family you should try this amazing place.

Room 3014 (Junior suite ocean view)

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank kobenchez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
cap cana
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 18 December 2012

Everything perfect! open minded, extremely friendly and happy personnel. Fascinating Architecture, imagining old ancient style, but almost brand new and in mint condition. Excellent food in every restaurant, ranging from breakfast with a wide range of fresh fruits to fish and steak (particularly the Tenderloin steak). Perfect organisation and management, concierge advice (Zeleni). Two golf courses (Los Coralles and Punta Espada) next door which are definitely top 10!!! of the world. Beach and Pool excellently placed and in great shape. Only the tennis course is with a different hotel, thus a shuttle bus needed. All in all a great experience for me and my wife, only to compare with honeymoon in Mauritius.

Room Tip: experienced the Junior Suite, perfect for two with Ocean view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank roland n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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
#35 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#36 Luxury 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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