We had a terrific time at Sanctuary Cap Cana. We enjoyed the food, pools, and the staff.
Overall Sanctuary and our vacation was awesome, the only thing we didn't like is twice a week they allow local vendors in to hawk their wares - and they are very pushy. It's the street market atmosphere that we prefer to avoid but couldn't as they were literally blocking the walkway between our room and breakfast and/or the pool. Other than that the staff is absolutely wonderful and they all take seriously their job of making sure everyone has a great time and are well-served. The evening entertainment was pretty good too.
We did like our room, "Beach Front" is a bit of a stretch - when I picture "beachfront" I picture looking out the door/window and seeing sand and water and nothing else. In reality there are pools, beach volleyball, etc. between us and the ocean. But the villas etc that truly are "beachfront" are more "oceanfront" and you can't walk out your door and get to the beach. So I liked what we had better, it was very close to the main pool which is where we spent most of our time anyway. We were technically "beachfront" in that the beach volleyball court was near our room, and the sand of it in continuous all the way through the rest of the resort to the ocean.
We did do a couple of excursions - Dr. Fish Ocean Spa (Bavaro beach area), and "Juanillo VIP All Day Tour" at Scape Park (in Cap Cana). Dr. Fish was pretty good/interesting, we wanted massages and this excursion included that and other things as well for the less $$ than the resort's spa, and it got us out to see a little more of Punta Cana. The VIP tour got snorkeling and visiting "the blue hole", the rest of it kind of felt like the same stuff we would do at the resort anyway, only on a boat for part of it and and a slightly different beach (turned out literally right next door to Sanctuary).
And of course, Punta Espada. You were absolutely right. Bucket-list type course that nobody really seems to have heard about around here. Absolutely gorgeous (and really difficult especially being a little bit rusty!)
So specifically to your questions:
Yes, it was a great recommendation - I don't know if it's better/worse than other resorts in DR, but the whole being in Cap Cana seemed like a nice little bit of extra peace / security. Plus it did save some $$ on Punta Espada, which I don't know that I would have made it to if we stayed somewhere further away / at another resort that has it's own course. If someone wants to do motorized water sports (jet ski, parasailing, etc) this probably isn't the resort for them as those activities are not allowed in any part of Cap Cana.
What we liked best was the staff, their awesome attitudes and personalities, and being waited on hand-and-foot. We were truly treated like a king and queen for a week.
I'm not entirely sure the "Beach Front" was much better than "Ocean View", other than we were much closer (i.e. didn't have to go down stairs), to get to the pool/bar/real beach/etc. But we did like the room.
Bottom line, I would definitely recommend the resort! On a side note, the people who stayed in "the castle" seem to swear by it, but from what I could see and tell I was really glad we were NOT in it. It's kind of far away from everything else.