Apart from the striking (and, let’s be honest, a little bit disorienting) castle that sits at the heart of Sanctuary Cap Cana, the all-inclusive Dominican Republic resort is not exactly known as being one of the Caribbean’s high-design stunners. Instead, Sanctuary devotees have flocked to the resort year after year for its laid-back adults-only atmosphere—no stressed-out families or overly ambitious bachelor parties here—and its pristine sugar-white private beaches. But thanks to a sweeping $35 million renovation, that reputation is about to change.
The property’s new well-heeled look comes courtesy of the all-female team at Carrillo Projects (and joins a host of upgrades happening at the nearby Eden Roc Cap Cana). The Madrid–based firm was tasked with reimagining nearly every aspect of the resort—giving its existing 323 colonial-style suites and extensive public areas a much-needed makeover and leading the charge on an additional 140 suites set to debut early next year. Tired codes of tropical design have been replaced with breezy glamour: think airy rooms paneled in light woods and anchored by modern four-poster beds and intricately carved accents, and a Spanish-style lobby outfitted with a sweeping magnum Selenite salt crystal chandelier that cascades 18 feet down from the ceiling. All of the original architecture (which the resort describes as “escapist”) remains—including that castle, which is now home to one of the top suites on the property. Inside, the Castle Island Suite is a culmination of what the property does best: In addition to its refined beachy look, the palatial 5,500-square-foot space practically hangs over the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean, offering beach and lawn access right off its plush living and dining areas. And if that wasn’t enough, the suite also boasts not one, but three indoor pools should you want to indulge in an after-hours swim.
Each of the property’s villas—which come complete with private plunge pools, beach access, and butlers—have also been renovated, offering a more laid-back take on the rest of the resort’s new look. No matter what room type they check in to, all guests will have access to Sanctuary’s suite of amenities, including the five on-property restaurants (all of which have been given face-lifts) as well as the bars and restaurants located across the street from the resort at Sanctuary town. And when they aren’t letting days unfold pool or beach side, they’ll also have access to the Sanctuary Spa, which now features a new Zen Garden and pool, where guests can lounge in between massages and holistic treatments. All-inclusive has never looked better.