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Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol
Ranked #39 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Miami, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“great hotel!”
Reviewed 16 July 2010

I went there last mont and I have to say that the Dominican Republic is a great place for vacations. Nice people, nice views and incredible beaches!. This hotel in particular is exceptional and I recommend it to anyone that wants to go to the DR for some nice vacations. I hope this review helps someone.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank xmoonrakerx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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frank1212dc
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2010

Please take my advice and do not stay there. Why would you with so many other Caribbean options? As you can see from the reviews, there are varying experiences but I am very suspicious of the glowing ones. There is no way one could stay there for a week without experience many of the negatives already discussed in other posts. We went the week of July 1-7 and had the same comedy of errors that tells you they are not ready and shouldn't be charging the premium prices at this point in their development as they are not providing the value. New things that happened to us include the following: We reserved a beachfront premium room, When we got there we found we were actually behind the pool near the outdoor grilling area. If you were sitting down in the loungers you could not even see the water. Further, they call it beachfront because they cut out the grassy area and filled it with hardpan sand. Voila-Beachfront!. We asked to change rooms as we really wanted a balcony and view of the ocean, which we thought we would have had when reserving a "beachfront" room. We wound up liking a 3rd floor room in the main building which was actually a downgrade. However, mgt. would not give us the $200 differential for downgrading. We had to call our travel agent who spent 1/2 hour on the phone trying to negotiate the reduction to the cost of the downgraded room. The travel agent finally got so disgusted she ate the cost herself. Other things included no towels available at the pool after noon, not enough floats for the pool, not enough chairs at the beach. Hard to understand as the resort was only 1/2 full. Restaurant service was so slow we actually dreaded going to dinner. Three times we finally ran out of patience and made a fuss and each time our food miraculously appeared within minutes. Almost made us feel they were toying with us Americans. You have to get mad to get action. Oddly, on our last night, we got wonderful service. I think they recognized us and didn't want to have a scene. My other chief complaint is that if the bartenders and waiters do not speak english hardly at all there is no way to provide good service. A hotel of this caliber should be giving english lessons to the staff of incur the cost of importing english speaking staff. The staff is well meaning but the language barrier led to wrong orders, missed orders etc. Also, on the topic of alcohol, the house wine is so bad you are forced to buy wine at dinner and only beer (Presidente) is stocked in the minibar and only two cans per day. At Couples, you get a stock of liquor, two bottles of wine and beer at all times. There are some plusses. The grounds are beautiful, truly magnificent. The private beach to the right of the resort is a gem and to the left is the public Jaunillo Beach which is so deserted it may as well be private. We spent most of our time there and could take a mile walk. To summarize, there are way to many basic resort problems with this place to ever recommend or go back to and Secrets should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to tarnish their reputation. The manager said the intend to make this a signature property someday-good luck. Go somewhere else. They do not deserve your business.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank vagabond3025
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Delaware
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2010

So here's the deal...we truly love the Secrets brand. We were first introduced to Secrets for our honeymoon 9 years ago (actually in Punta Cana). We stayed at Secrets Excellence in Punta Cana (Royal Uvero Alto initially) on 3 different occasions - but now that property is no longer owned by Secrets. Almost every year we celebrate our anniversary with a trip to Secrets...once the management changed in Punta Cana, we began exploring Mexico...so we've been to Secrets Excellence Riviera Maya (no longer Secrets), Secrets Capri and Secrets Maroma just last year. The only ones we haven't visited at this point is Secrets Silversands and the new one in Jamaica. You're probably thinking...well when is she going to get to the review of Cap Cana??? I just wanted to provide that background because my husband and I truly do believe in this brand. So now for Secrets Sanctuary...we were fortunate enough to meet the General Manager shortly after we arrived (Carlos Del Pino)...to me, that made all the difference for us. I explained to him that we had vacationed with Secrets on many occasions. Although there is not a "loyalty" program in place for Secrets, Carlos really appreciated our repeat business with Secrets and did everything he could to accommodate us. The room we stayed in was hands down #1 in comparison to other Secrets properties. It was spacious, the oceanview was unbelievable and we had our own small private pool. I seriously told my husband at least 100 times..."I love this room". Now I also have to let you know that initially we were in the villa...and that was very nice as well...but because it has an open air bathroom (which was very hot), the bugs were completely out of control. So I would only recommend the villas to people that really enjoy being "one with nature". That just didn't work out well for us.
Regarding the resort overall...everybody really has to keep in mind that although it's officially "Secrets" now, they are still in that transition phase. Yes there is construction, but it never seemed to get in our way - and trust me, that spa is going to be unreal when it's complete. And yes it's true that only certain restaurants are open during the evening, but that just made good business sense because the resort wasn't at full capacity. And yes there are some challenges with the communication (more than I've experienced at the other resorts) but for the most part, the staff really tried their best.
Carlos was very willing to hear about some of the things we appreciated about the other Secrets resorts and I honestly believe that once some of these kinks are worked out, this will truly be heaven on earth! I just hope we're able to afford to come back once the whole Cap Cana area is all built up! I have a feeling the prices are going to get pretty steep...

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Woochaymom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boomer5js
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2010

I'll start off by saying I consider myself pretty easy going. I stay in hotels 2 or 3 nights a week for the last 3 years and have never once complained about a room or stay I write this review because its not right to pay the money they are asking and receive the lack of accommodations that this resort is advertising. We went here on our honeymoon during the first week of June. Didn't even stay 24 hours. Here is a list of mishaps and the accommodations that Secrets Sanctuary fell short in providing during our stay. This was a very disappointing experience and we will have a hard time supporting the Secrets brand after our short stay at the Sanctuary. With issues we faced, I can not support Secrets advertising the Sanctuary as a high end resort. They have a lot of issues to work through, and for the foreseeable future I can not recommend this resort. Our travel agent transfered us to the PARADISUS PALMA REAL for the same money as the Sanctuary. These two resorts aren't even comparable. On every level the Paradisus was heads above. The Dominican is awesome, the Sanctuary was not. Do yourself a favor and research and compare with the Paradisus Palma Real if you are considering this resort. Its a great measuring point for the same money. Enought about that... this review is about the Sanctuary and I'm posting our experience in hope of helping someone prevent what we had to experience. To spend hard earned money on a place like this is not fair. Without further delay, here is a list the issues we faced during our 1 day stay at Secrets Sanctuary:

- Without any fore warning we arrived at the resort and found the resort under renovation and that some of the restaurants and bars would be closed during our stay (notably: the Blue Marlin which was a point of attraction advertised on the website in making our decision of where to honeymoon)

- As we were checking into the hotel (10 minutes or so) a minimum of 5 people came to the front desk to explain an issue with no A/C, a dirty room, etc. This was a common occurance anytime we passed through the lobby.

- The tray of "fresh fruit" that was advertised on the website to be waiting apon your arrival, was 2 old small red apples and half of a strawberry.

- We had nothing in our room to explain the layout of the resort, where we could find the restaurants, the times the restaurants were in operation, etc.

- The resort was very poorly lit at night.

- Our balcony was not furnished nor did we have an MP3 hook up in our room nor did we have silk robes and slippers in our rooms. All of these things were advertised as "lifestyle essentials found in every suite and villa" on the website.

- We stayed in a junior suite ocean view in the castle. The castle has a moldy/ musty smell thoughout.

- As we were unpacking, we noticed that the room had a very moldy smell. We opened the drawer right next to our bed and found mold covering the entire inside of the drawer with an old bag of food laying inside the drawer.

- The drawer was cleaned by a staff member by running faucet water in the drawer and then dumping the residue into our tub. No actual soap or cleaning agent was used to clean the mold. Our shower door was covered in soap scum and when we asked for disinfectant cleaner to clean the shower door, the housekeeper began to wipe down the shower with the wet, mold-covered towel that she used to clean the moldy drawer.

-Our "fully stocked" refrigerator was not plugged in and the entire refrigerator was full of warm drinks.

-The safe in our room did not lock.

-We received only one room key and the AC only works if the room key is in the AC control panel. Meaning the AC does not work if your not in your room. So when you come back from the pool, a meal, the hot weather, etc... you come back to hot and sticky room.

-When walking around the room with our shoes off, the bottom of our feet would get dirty.

- On our first evening there was supposed to be a tequila tasting. When someone at the pool ask the bartender at the pool where the tequila tasting event was he answered, "right here" and then poured a shot of tequila into a plastic cup and slid it across the bar.

- There was no hot water when we tried to shower. When a staff member came to our room to check out the situation we were told to turn on all of our faucets for 10 minutes or so and then we should start to get warm water. And then to repeat the same routine whenever we'd like to shower.

- The breakfast buffet was covered with flies and bugs.

- Tuesday morning we went to lay on the beach, and instead of hearing waves roll onto the beach, we had to listen to a concrete mixer and the sound of hammers and nails.

We went to the front desk 3 times within the first 6 hours of being at the resort and called down to the front desk 3 times and every time we were told that the hotel manager was in a meeting. When I called back to the front desk at 9pm, they told me the manager was still in a meeting, which clearly was not the case. I stopped back at the front desk the next morning and was told he was in a meeting.

Bottom line, this resort was not as advertised. Could it be a senic resort? Yes, but its dirty, unfinished and has poor service. Secrets would be better off to close the resort until the issues are resolved rather than ruining their name and brand.

As I mentioned... a good point of reference would be to google the Paradisus Palma Real and price a similar level of room and look at their site. On their site what you see is what you get. The Secrets Sanctuary website has a lot of help through modern media technology and false promises/ advertising.

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Boomer5js
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Miami, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 July 2010

Nature and elegance the best combination to unplug yourself from the stress and prepare your mind to enjoy the perfect getaway.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank wdepaz1377
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2010

We stayed here for 1 week the last week of May and the beginning of June. The resort is beautiful but many areas need help.

1. The grounds and rooms are beautiful but smell horribly of mildew..when we arrived our room still had dust all over the floor and need to be cleaned again...they advised the rooms in the castle section just reopened.
2. AC did not work for 3 or the 7 days we were there not even in the restruants.
3. We ran out of toilet paper and it took 7 hours and 4 phone calls to get someone to bring some.
4. Front desk staff very unfriendly and not very accomidating...when we went to complain about the AC they apologized and then delivered 2 apples on a nice plate with an apology letter. It was 82 and humid in our rooms the apples did not help. There are no fans in the castle room so the air did not circulate.
5. Lots of construction going on around the resort...rebuilding the seafood resturant ..with this we had construction vehicles driving on the beach all day and we could only smell fuel as they kept getting stuck. Many of the rooms they were repairing the roofs and construction noise was constant.
6. The staff at the pool was great but on many occassion they overserved people and encouraged people to do shots. One occassion they had to remove a passed out woman in the pool with a cart after she threw up all over herself...this was suppose to be a luxury resort it felt like college spring break. This happened more than once during our stay with drunk people passed out on the bar.
7. Manangement was no where to be seen they never interacted with the guest...except the chef.
8. The casino was a joke there was no AC for several day and they only opened the $ 10 hand of blackjack and roulette....when asked about the craps they said it would be opened tomorrow...went back the next night and they said the same thing...the craps table never opened up.
9. Everyone we met at the pool and dining complained about the AC as it was over 100 everyday and at time it was unbearable....we almost checkout but the day we decided to the AC was working again.

This resort could be a great place as its close to the aiport and the structure and grounds are amazing. But right now I could not recommend this to anyone. The food as great and the staff other than the front desk did their best. This is Dominican Republic so English is not the first language but everyone got by and at least tried. I have gone to the DR 4 times in the last couple years and this by far was my worst experience to date, even when I stayed at a 3 star property at least you know what to expect. I would give this property a year to get its stuff together as it needs alot of help. They should start first by looking at the front desk staff and the managment.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank beachbum69Boston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2010

My husband and I honeymooned at the Secrets Sanctuary for 7 nights...I'd love to give this beautiful resort a positive review, as I hope to see the area of Cap Cana grow and thrive, BUT it was a huge disappointment. We travel often...been to great resorts in Maui, Cabo, the Bahamas, Florida, Las Vegas, St Martin, etc all in the last two years...some of which were hosting their grand opening and/or under new managment... and this was our worst travel experience EVER. I realize that time will help this hotel some, but I would never give it a second chance or refer a friend to it. I found the treatment insulting--the dress code rules kept changing...my husband was refused a table at the steak restuarant because he was wearing flip flops with his pants and collared shirt. This would be fine if the hostess and manager had not been rude and the restaurant literally had 10 guests in it. They easily could have sat us outside but refused. Only a max of two restaurants were open at once due to the low campacity; I understand this move but some days they were all formal restaurants and I think one casual option should always be open...it's vacation for goodness sake. One evening we went to eat at the "casual" restaurant and the hostess told my husband he needed pants on...mind you we had been there for 5 days at this point and eaten there plenty of times; we returned to our room and did as she asked, tired of getting upset, only to return and watch her seat a Spanish-speaking gentleman in a tshirt, shorts and flip-flops...much more casual than us (my husband had been wearing a button-up shirt with a collar and khaki shorts). I do want to say that the Concierge and activities staff were always friendly and as helpful as possible. I don't know where they get their energy, as the worked everyday we were there! But the pool staff was a big disappointment...when I think vacation, I think relaxing by the pool but they made you feel guilty for asking for a menu and you could be the only person at the bar and still have to flag someone down to help you. In 7 days we were not ONCE offered a drink...the pool staff would collect your empty glass and ignore your existence otherwise. One bartender refused to make us a bloody mary, saying they didn't serve it, even though it was on the menu that was in our hands. We were woken up in our room at 9am due to hammers in the room right next to us. We asked for a manager four times during our trip, varying times of the day, each time we were told he wasn't currently in and we could come back the next day. A hotel without a manager ever on duty? Bull! We were not given a free upgrade for being on our honeymoon even though we booked 7 nights and a certain level of room to ensure that. Our coffee was refilled only twice during our 7 nights. The housekeeping schedule varied daily and how much they did varied, as well. By the end of our trip, I preferred to stay in our mediocre room vs deal with the unpleasant hostess staff. Unfortunately the room service food was terrible; far different than the same items served in the restaurants. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. I understand this hotel is new to the Secrets family but it's not like we got a cheap deal to stay there. For the money, go somewhere else and enjoy the customer service you deserve. I do laugh when I read negative reviews about the beach...yes, the hotel beach where you can supposedly be served food and bev is small, but there are two big private beaches on both sides of the resort. They were very pretty and, at the most, we shared them with 5 other people at a time. We did enjoy all of our Cap Cana excursions--the horseback riding/blue hole was the best! Well worth the $65. We booked a fishing charter via the Marina's manager and had a fantastic time (4 white marlin). If we were to return, we would research renting a place in the marina and just stay for a long weekend.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank TrvlTherapyPls
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 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#35 On the Beach 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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