We had a terrific time at Sanctuary Cap Cana. We enjoyed the food, pools, and the staff.
We did not go on any excursions.
Attached are a few pictures.
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.
We really loved Punta Cana and the resort! The resort was very unique and beautiful. We thought the service was excellent, great variety of food and drinks as well. The restaurants were very nice. We would highly recommend it and would definitely go back! Brian LOVED the golf! We ended up at Teeth of the Dog and there were so many beautiful holes on the ocean. We thought it was well worth the distance from the resort and the cost. Brian was very appreciative of the surprise. I can’t believe we actually pulled it off. He didn’t realize we were going to Punta Cana until we arrived in Atlanta. He thought we were going to Mexico because one of the kids teachers mentioned Mexico to him a day before we left. I’m actually glad he mentioned that because it threw Brian off track! Thanks again for all of your help. It was truly an amazing trip!
Yes I would definitely recommend it. It was not crowded at all while we were there but there was a group of 3 couples that we ran into regularly. They seemed to be having an amazing time. Two nights the entertainment was great. The Dominican night had excellent dancing and music and they also had live music another night that was great. There is a ‘disco’ club there that could be fun but we never went there. The main pool is pretty lively and there is sand volleyball nearby that they try to do if there are enough people. Brian played once and would’ve played more if there were players. One staff member said the resort was only at 40% occupancy. We went to the spa for massages one morning that that was fabulous. You can hang out a the spa pool and hot tubs as long as you like. It’s expensive…$145 for a 50 min massage but I guess that is probably normal for resorts. They give you a $50 off coupon in your room which helps. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had, so well worth it for me! Our room was nice. It was on the bottom floor of the Castle with a big wooden deck balcony and a grassy area in front overlooking the ocean. It’s very hot so you really can’t be out there until evening. The rooms above us had their own little plunge pools and great views of the ocean. I liked that area of the resort. It had a bar on the top level and a nice pool that we hung out at. It’s much more relaxing and not as lively. We went back and forth between the two pools. We even ordered room service and the brought it to the pool for us one day. That pool in “the castle” has a great view of the ocean. We walked the whole resort on our last day and all the rooms seem great. There are even great little villas right on the ocean. Most are under construction, but very cute. We loved how all the rooms appeared different instead of giant high-rise buildings with bunches of rooms all lined up and the same. each little building here was unique. A very appealing feature we thought. It has a beautiful Mediterranean feel to it. we never left the resort other than for golf but many couples were doing excursions and having a great time. One couple did swim with dolphins and love it. The group I mentioned earlier even took a shuttle over to a sister Alsol resort to eat for dinner. we didn’t know you could do that but we were already booked with eating at the restaurants offered on the property which were great. They truly did seem like stand alone restaurants and very quaint and nice. Unlike some all inclusives that all the restaurants share the same kitchen, food tastes the same and they just change up the decor each night. This was not that way. Maybe they do all share the same kitchen but they do an excellent job of masking that if they do. Anyway, hope this is helpful.