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Source: Robb Report

Sanctuary Cap Cana elevates the all-inclusive game with a separate five-star section—and a specialty suite with some pretty unique perks.

I am typically not a fan of all-inclusive resorts—but Sanctuary Cap Cana is not your typical all-inclusive. Located in the private Dominican Republic gated community of Cap Cana (a 30,000-acre beachfront enclave with golf club and marina), the adults-only resort—which recently underwent a $45 million upgrade—raises the game on the all-inclusive experience by offering a separate five-star section with its own amenities. Dubbed The Castle, the all-suite hotel-with-a-hotel comes with a reception and check-in area, butler service for every room, dedicated bars and lounges, its own infinity pool and—as I discovered on a recent visit—one of the most unique suites around.

The top suite in The Castle section, the Castle Island Suite is a bi-level, two-bedroom option with a spacious open-plan living room, a dining room, and a furnished terrace. What’s different, though, are all the things you’ll find in between. First up are the three indoor pools: On one side of the living room is an over-sized plunge pool set next to a wall of windows looking out at the ocean; on the other side, in a circular room with a grotto-meets-Roman-bath vibe, is a another large, half-moon shaped pool framed by more views (and cut-out windows low enough to make you feel like you’re parallel with the sea.) In keeping with that Roman bath theme, the third plunge pool is tucked away in the hammam-style master bathroom, which also has a separate soaking tub.

And then there’s the outdoor “private island.” Accessible only via a short footbridge from the suite’s terrace is a small, grassy islet furnished with two covered cabanas—and nothing else but panoramic views. The islet is large enough that it can accommodate small weddings, making the Castle Suite a popular pick for events. The pluses of booking it for an individual stay are even greater, as there’s plenty of space to spread out, and basically one pool per guest. As a solo guest, I had to make a conscious effort to experience each of the pools and the island over a short two-day stay—and there was apparently one additional second-level event space I didn’t even make it to. Castle Island Suite starting rates for high-season are approximately $950 per night and $850 per night during the rest of the year.