Hotel Intel: Sanctuary is Marriott's first luxury all-inclusive

Hotel Intel: Sanctuary is Marriott's first luxury all-inclusive

Hotel Intel: Sanctuary is Marriott's first luxury all-inclusive

The captivating property is adults-only and all-inclusive.

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Sanctuary Cap Cana, a Luxury Collection Adult All-Inclusive Resort, a Marriott brand, is a sun-bathed vacation paradise outside of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, a favourite island of Canadian sun worshippers.

The captivating property is adults-only and all-inclusive, overlooking the turquoise water and a dazzling sand beach of the Caribbean Sea.

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You might have heard that pitch before, but this is different.

New concept: A tourism trailblazer, Sanctuary Cap Cana is the synthesis of two concepts by Marriott, the world’s largest hotel company.

One is the familiar all-inclusive scenario in which you can have almost whatever you want at almost any time, for one flat fee.

The new-in-2023 twist is that Sanctuary Cap Cana has enriched the all-inclusive formula with five-star hospitality, focusing on personal service by an endlessly helpful, abundant staff, as well as plush interiors that are the result of an extensive $60-million revamp. Guests enjoy a private beach and six pools, superior international cuisine (cool and casual, formal and gourmet, as well as 24-hour room service), plus unlimited drinks at seven bars and in-room mini-bars.

The vibe is distinctive, too. Sanctuary is an elegant and refined escape, Caribbean style, with only a modicum of the action-packed hubbub of other all-inclusives, but still a remarkably generous package. It offers engaging cultural explorations like Spanish classes and Epicurean Moments, which are daily tastings of Dominican Republic’s dishes using cacao and coconut. Wellness can be low-key, like restorative yoga and blissful spa life, or more convivial, dynamic group happenings like aqua aerobics, salsa classes, beach volleyball and Zumba.

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The main pool is a social hub with music, activities and a swim-up bar. Yes, it’s high-spirited, but there are five other pools that are tranquil oases and other exquisite places to chill, like the handsome Library or a seaside canopy bed, where the surging surf lulls you into a Sanctuary zone.

The resort is breathtakingly beautiful at sunset and into the night, with its sweeping, fairy-tale terraces overlooking the Caribbean and lights twinkling on palm trees. After-dinner entertainment might be a vivacious, Dominican folkloric show or a nightcap at the Love Bar — a splendid space of classical arches mixed with chic modern decor.

“Sanctuary Cap Cana is idyllic, a rare fusion of luxury, all-inclusive and adults-only,” said Alex Fiz, managing director, All-Inclusive Marriott International. ”It’s a unique addition to our Luxury Collection brand and an exciting debut for the growing portfolio of All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy.”

The architecture and design of Sanctuary Cap Cana is sumptuous.
The architecture and design of Sanctuary Cap Cana is sumptuous. Marriott International

The scene: Sanctuary is large and regal, with the look of an aristocratic Spanish Conquistador estate of lush foliage, burbling fountains and craggy rock gardens. Buildings of weathered stone are topped with turrets and terra cotta tiles. There is even a moat!

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Sanctuary definitely has a Dominican spirit, too, reflected in thatched roof huts, colourful stucco and accents of tropical decor. But the resort is totally today, with Zen-style pools, eco-operations and a state-of-the-art spa. Everything is walking distance, and for convenience, golf carts tootle along the cobblestone paths.

Reopened in 2023 as the first Luxury Collection All-Inclusive Resort by Marriott, Sanctuary Cap Cana is decked out in contemporary designer decor with tropical accents.
Reopened in 2023 as the first Luxury Collection All-Inclusive Resort by Marriott, Sanctuary Cap Cana is decked out in contemporary designer decor with tropical accents. Marriott International

Some of the luxurious suites at Sanctuary Cap Cana, Marriott's first Luxury Collection All-Inclusive, have private pools.
Some of the luxurious suites at Sanctuary Cap Cana, Marriott’s first Luxury Collection All-Inclusive, have private pools. Marriott International

A private haven in the posh Cap Cana area, Sanctuary has 324 lavishly-appointed junior or full suites in four sections — Colonial, Castle, Villas and Luxury Buildings 1 and 2. Each one is different, but they’re all luxurious, with balconies or terraces. The Castle and Villas (darling love nests) are graced with VIP uniformed butlers, and some exceptional suites have private pools or swim-out access.

Food/beverage: Each specialty restaurant has flexible options, as well as gluten-free and vegetarian. Sanctuary’s cuisine ranges from grazing at a poolside snack bar or at outdoor bistros, to gourmet dining, and for a fee, a sumptuous lobster feast on the beach.

The Blue Marlin is one of five fine restaurants at Sanctuary Cap Cana, the first Luxury Collection All-Inclusive Resort by Marriott.
The Blue Marlin is one of five fine restaurants at Sanctuary Cap Cana, the first Luxury Collection All-Inclusive Resort by Marriott. Marriott International

Blue Marlin is coveted for its market-fresh seafood and seductive setting perched over the Caribbean. The divine Capriccio defines romance gourmet Italian fare. The pan-Asian restaurant Wok does fiery teppanyaki grills. The Steakhouse serves Argentine-inspired meat, grilled gaucho-style.

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The central Casa Bella features five-star breakfast/lunch buffets of delicacies, with all food protected behind glass and individually served. Casa Bella also does a lively cultural evening on Fridays, with the spotlight on rum and sancocho, a traditional stew, as well as art, crafts and music.

Spa life (fees apply): Sanctuary Spa has a full roster of sublime services including beauty and body treatments, couples’ massages, a hair salon, mani-pedis, and hydrotherapy in hot and cold baths.

Off site: There is US$5 transportation to nearby attractions, including Punta Espada Golf Club designed by Jack Nicklaus; Scape Park for zip lining; Los Establos Cap Cana equestrian club; and Marina Cap Cana for fishing, diving and boating.

[email protected]

IF YOU GO

Sanctuary Cap Cana, a Luxury Collection Adult All-Inclusive Resort: 833-297-5292, 809-562-9191, all-inclusive.marriott.com. Marriott Bonvoy applies for certain rooms if booked at marriott.com.

Rates are approximate: from $740 per night for two in January, or from $570 per night for two in April.

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