My first visit to the Dominican Republic was in 1997 as part of an Atlanta Sister Cities Commission mission to Salcedo, an agricultural city of about 100,000 located in the country’s mountainous center.  Our group, led by Atlanta – Salcedo Committee Chair Victor Ramirez, also spent two days in Santo Domingo meeting with government officials and program supporters.

This trip, Feb. 22 – 28, 2018, was a vacation to Punta Cana, perhaps the next Cancun.

In 1997, I’d heard of Punta Cana as an upcoming vacation destination, rented a car for a day trip, and drove seventy miles to the country’s northeastern corner.  I discovered a small struggling town surrounded by a few lovely resorts.  Twenty-one years later I returned and discovered a vastly richer city and Cap Cana, a thirty-thousand-acre reserve full of beautiful resorts and an array of fabulous attractions.

We stayed at #15, Sanctuary Cap Cana, located in the bottom middle of the above diagram.

For beach vacations, my traveling partner and I favor all adult, all inclusive resorts.  We have been to Cancun, Mexico, three times and stayed at two Secrets resorts and Blue Agua.  My favorite was Secrets Maroma where I celebrated my seventieth birthday.

I described why in two web pages on my web site Navigate to the far left drop down, Vita, and you will find two consecutive travel web pages.

Arnie Heller Turns 70 at Secret’s Maroma, Mexico, Part 1

Arnie Heller’s 70th Birthday Celebration at Secret’s Maroma in Cancun, Mexico, Party II. 

I previously believed that no architects vision and staff service quality could top Maroma.  Until now – Sanctuary Cap Cana provides a superior physical plant, equally good service, and is going to get even better after a 2018 summer time renovation that will easily earn it Five Star rating.

In this diagram of the Cap Cana reserve, Sanctuary Hotel’s location is number four. 

After being admitted onto the property, our first sight was the meticulously maintained landscaping – much of developed Can Cana shares gorgeous tropical vegetation. 

The long pretty driveway will bring the visitor to Sanctuary Hotel Square and the Great House for admission, mingling, dining, drinking, or entertainment.  On the other side of this village square is Sanctuary Town which I view as a fantastic all-inclusive bonus; nine restaurants supplement the six or seven in the hotel and main property. 

Already very impressed by our selection of a resort, Sanctuary placed us in the Tower with a 3,875 sq. ft. suite that included a living room, two bedrooms, two baths with a hot tub and gazebo on the patio.

Dominican Republic Dream Vacation 2 web page will showcase this sprawling patio and fabulous views from it. 

The all-inclusive resorts of Cancun are famous for celebrating their guest’s birthdays – at meals, decorations for the room, banners slashed across the front door. 

Sanctuary Cap Cana was quite lavish too.  A banner was fastened to the door and a very special meal enjoyed at the Steakhouse

For details about the 3,875 sq. ft. Tower suite, I suggest the reader access the resort’s web site, select Accommodations, and navigate down to Tower Suites. 

This webpage focuses on the exceptional patio space and the outstanding views of the grounds and ocean that it provides.  The first patio picture is the sight upon exiting the living room and / or master bedroom. 

The second patio picture was taken with my back to the ocean and highlighted the hot tub which, frankly, was not “hot” – the water is cool and probably limited our use of it.  Water stains marking the stucco exterior and an elevator out of service limited our appraisal to Four Stars.  A three-month long renovation this summer will upgrade Sanctuary to Five Stars.  Regardless, the place is still a paradise. 


The gazebo is nestled in the patio corner and provides privacy, comfort, and excellent views of the property, beach, and ocean.

I awoke early one morning to send an important email.  The sun was beginning to rise and though I had captured many beautiful sunsets over the years, I’d never photographed a sunrise before and grabbed my camera. 

I waited ten minutes and captured the sun peeking above the horizon.

The next picture was taken from the living room terrace to show the great house and it’s huge patio located to our west.

The same view of the grounds taken during late sunset which was a must picture.

Webpage 3 focuses on the resort’s main amenities. 

This is the path we took to access the various resort areas: Great house, dining spots, the pool, beach, or Sanctuary Town.

We fell in love with a sculpture exhibition located in the Great House near the Love Bar.

After viewing the sculpture, one exits the Great House and enters a grand patio that serves as a main entertainment venue.  We were very impressed with the high quality of the performers and musicians that entertained us. The next two pictures show the other side of the patio, the small pool beyond it, and a back view of the resort.

The Casa Bella is the resort’s full purpose restaurant.  Breakfast is served here for everyone and afterwards becomes a choice for lunch, dinner and supplies room service.

Casa Bella has an outdoor dining plaza that overlooks the main pool area.

We treated ourselves to a fabulous massage at the resort’s spa located in the Castle that also includes bedroom suites, dining spots, and a swim up pool.  One accesses the spa through this entrance. 

Web page number four will showcase Sanctuary Town, a haven of varied dining options and great niche spaces. 

I’ve heard some people complain that all-inclusive resorts are just daily sun bathing and binge drinking experiences.  Of course, they could sign up for an excursion or limit their exposure to the sun and alcohol consumption. 

Sanctuary Town, located across the square from the main building, provides an excursion feel of leaving the resort for a lovely nearby village.  Nine additional varied dining options await the visitor along with adorable spaces to just sit and take in the warm Dominican air along with attentive service. 

Beers of the World include forty premium choices, mostly European and English favorites.  You won’t find your favorite American craft beers and the bar is out of pocket and not part of your all-inclusive package.  Anejos is a rum and cigar store and museum.

Flavors and Senses, an Asian fusion style restaurant, was a favorite of ours.  The food was very good but the best part was a staff that also greatly entertained us and even got us up from our seats to form a conga-style line and dance around the restaurant. 

Mama’s Pizza was another favorite – the pizza is pretty good, the staff warm and friendly, the location wonderful. 

We did not have a chance to sample the Spanish Restaurant that specializes in Tapas plates and other delicacies.  It was not part of our package and is open to visitors from other resorts.  The adorable Tacos Truck serves up tasty treats in an idyllic setting.

An ice cream and candy store make Sanctuary Town complete.

Our tour of Sanctuary Town ends as we ascend the stairs leading to the main square and Great House. 

Sanctuary web page #5 focuses on the resort’s beaches and related amenities. 


I have always loved the beach and Sanctuary Cap Cana furnishes an attractive and comfortable beach environment.  An athletic area, mainly for volleyball, is adjacent to the oceanside beach.

Chairs, towels, private cabanas and food and drink servers are all provided in one’s package to create a feeling of freedom.

The thatched hut in foreground with the blue and white lunch boat serves up hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, chips with guacamole or salsa and salad fixings.  The round thatched hut in background is a swim or walk up bar for the Dominican Presidente beer, wine and mixed drinks.  The friendly bartenders work very hard to quench their guest’s thirsts with a variety of creative cocktails.

The Blue Marlin restaurant sits over the water on stilts and is open for lunch and dinner.  This was one of our favorite restaurants because at night the waves of the high tide roll in right under the floor and you are eating just a few feet above the ocean.  The sea food dishes are particularly good too.

The thatched hut farthest right is reserved for romantic couples who want the space just for themselves. 

The sixth and final web page will feature the pool area and its attractions. 

I also enjoy sitting around a pool and the main one was spectacular.

The first picture was taken from the patio over the Casa Bella and provides a broad look that includes the Blue Marlin (left) and poolside bar and lunch boat behind it.  The second photo is a poolside view of the chairs and umbrellas and sight of the ocean in the background.  Since skin cancer runs in my family, I tend to sit under an umbrella to shield myself from the direct sun but do tend to tan darkly. 

The niche areas – rocks, hot tubs, sloping area – lend a grotto like feel to the experience.

The above photo provides a better view of the rocks and a sloping area for just getting one’s feet wet.  The below photo is a smaller secondary pool that has a waterfall for effect.

The Castle at the far end of the property also has a pretty pool but I did not have an opportunity to take a picture of it nor did I find a good picture of it online.  You’ll just have to go and see it for yourself. 

This completes the Dominican Dream Vacation photo survey series.  I hope you enjoyed it enough to make reservations.