Secrets Cap Cana Resort: A Solid Option for Dominican Republic Golfers
Until three weeks ago, I’d never visited an all inclusive resort.
I didn’t know what free 24 hour room service was.
I hadn’t been to a place where you could walk up to any one of a dozen bars or restaurants, order anything, and then just walk away.
I’d never envisioned a place where there were delicious snacks and deserts at all hours of the day for your taking.
That is, until I spent a few days at the Secrets Cap Cana resort in outside Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
But if you’re a golfer, is it worth staying here?
The answer? It depends.
Let’s see what I mean.
Arriving at Secrets Cap Cana Resort
One of the best parts about Secrets Cap Cana is how convenient it is. It’s only a 15 minute ride from the Punta Cana airport, and within Cap Cana you have a nice collection of resorts, golf options and amenities.
When you first pull up to Secrets, you’re greeted with a welcome cocktail or glass of champagne, and you check in in their giant open air lobby which is absolutely stunning.
You truly feel like you’re on vacation as you look out over the pools and resort, and see the ocean backdrop behind it all.
Check in is seamless, and as I’d come to realize was a theme at the resort nearly everyone I encountered seemed genuinely happy to say hi and help out.
Although I will say their theme of “welcome home” and the constant telling me of such got to feel a little bit cheesy by the end.
Rooms at Secrets Cap Cana
There are a variety of room types at Secrets Cap Cana, and I’m honestly not sure there’s a bad room at the resort.
I was in one of the back buildings, but one thing I really appreciate is that all the rooms face the ocean. There are no rooms that I could tell, which faced back towards the island.
And I’ll be honest, the island view outside my front door was actually very nice in it’s own right, but if you’re heading out on a tropical island vacation – you want to see the water.
My room was very nice.
It’s not like 5 star at the St. Regis nice, but for an all inclusive resort in a place like the Dominican Republic, it was even better than I expected.
It was good sized, with a nice rainfall shower, 2 queen beds (although I’m sure most have one king), and a giant daybed and bathtub out on the deck.
The bed was very comfortable, and while the room might have felt a little dark, it was the perfect place to retreat to after a day of golf or drinking – depending on what your goals are for the day!
Beach and Pool at Secrets Cap Cana
When you’re heading to an island all inclusive, the pool and beach are going to be a big factor in how your experience goes. And fortunately, the beach setup at Secrets Cap Cana is one of the best things it has going for it.
The pool area is sprawling. There’s as swim up bar that makes drinks that, generally speaking, were better than I expected them to be.
But what’s so great about the massive pool complex is that there are multiple arms and corners to it, so if you’re just looking for a little bit of space – it’s usually pretty easy to find a nice area to yourself.
I was told while we were there the resort was at 70% capacity, and it never felt crowded.
The only thing better than the pool, however, is the beach!
The private beach at Secrets Cap Cana is massive. There are shaded chairs dotting all over the place, and more premium cabanas you can rent out for a reasonable fee.
Once again, finding a quiet place to read a book, soak in the rays and live that tropical island beach life is pretty easy – or at least it was while I was there.
The water is great, and the sandy bottom make it easy to go for a swim in the Caribbean or the pool – depending on your personal preference.
Food at Secrets Cap Cana
As with any all inclusive vacation, one of the big draws is the fact you have unlimited food and booze at your disposal.
So how was the food at Secrets?
Generally speaking, it was very good. Not amazing, and not everything was a big hit, but overall I certainly never left hungry.
All of the restaurants we went to had big menus, with plenty of variety.
We checked out the seafood restaurant for lunch one day and the ceviche as very good, as were the fish tacos.
2 tacos weren’t quite enough, so being able to say “bring me another order!” without having to worry the bill was a luxury in and of itself.
The Italian restaurant was edible, but was pretty much what you’d expect from an all-inclusive, Dominican Republic Italian restaurant – not exactly the most authentic food you’ve ever had.
The breakfast buffet was massive and ensured you’d never have to have the same thing twice – with the omelette bar being a particular favorite of mine.
As for the drinks, the local Presidente beer was always free flowing, but the biggest surprise was the “Mango Tango” which I picked up from the bar down on the sandy beach. It was a fantastic rum drink with real mangos and wasn’t the typical syrupy, overly sweet standard tropical cocktail you might expect at a place like this.
The iceberg, a presidente topped with some frozen margarita, was also a big hit at the pool bar.
By the end of the trip, the food all started feeling a little similar in quality, and I can’t say I’d want to live off it for months on end. But for the time I was there, there was plenty of variety, and I never struggled to find something good to eat, no matter where I was.
Spa at Secrets Cap Cana
I’ll probably get some crap from some of the guys following this, but I’m not gonna lie, one of my favorite aspects of traveling these days is finding a good day spa to be able to enjoy after a long day of golf, or a late night out.
So when I heard about the massive spa at Secrets, I was looking forward to checking it out.
Normally I don’t need any massage or treatments, I just like to take advantage of the pools/sauna/hot tubs etc.
Usually at nicer hotels, hotel guests are able to use those facilities either free of charge, or at least for a reasonable fee.
This left me surprised when they wanted to charge $50 for me to go in and enjoy the facilities.
But, in the spirit of thoroughness for this review, I decided to pony up and check it out.
After paying, I spent 15 minutes in the locker room waiting for the attendant to show me the way to the spa, and when I asked the receptionist where they were, I got snapped at.
Not exactly off to a good start.
But this is where it got weird.
When the attendant finally came, she proceeded to herd me around the spa in a way I’d never quite experienced before.
“Go shower here.”
“Ok, now sit here.”
“Would you like 5 or 10 minutes in the steam room? Ok, go in here.”
After my shower she proceeded to rub an exfoliant all over my body and then sent me into the steam room for 5 minutes.
5 minutes on the dot “Times up!!”
I asked for 5 more minutes and she very reluctantly shut the door and came back in 90 seconds later “Times up! Out!”
“Get in here!”
The whole thing was very odd, and it made it nearly impossible to react as the spa sherpa forced me through the different aspects.
The whole thing was moderately redeemed when I was done and she covered me with warm towels, put a cucumbers and a towel over my eyes, and proceeded to give me a 15 minute foot massage.
I never did find out if I was able to actually just go use the facilities for a lesser fee without the “water journey” I was taken on, but it wasn’t quite the relaxing experience I was expecting.
I should have just been more forceful and said, “no I’m going to just sit here in my hot tub and do this at my own pace.”
Is it Worth it For a Golfer to Stay at Secrets Cap Cana?
Again, having never been to an all-inclusive before I didn’t totally know what to expect. But I’d say that over all it exceeded my expectations. Everything was a little bit better than I expected it to be from the food, to the accommodations, to the staff – it was great.
But is it the right place to stay if you’re a golfer?
Short answer is, it depends.
I think it depends on who you’re going with and what your goals are.
There wasn’t a ton of rowdy nightlife at the resort while we were there. They did have a nightclub going one night, and karaoke another, but we had to kind of bring our own party – in part because it was shoulder season at the resort.
If you’re going with couples or a significant other, I think this is perfect.
You have plenty of options for space, dining, and to do things together or separate.
If you’re a group of 4 dudes, it might still be a good fit if you’re down for resort life.
If there are more than that, you might be better off getting one of the private villas on the island, which I’ve been told there are many of, and that they are awesome. Specifically the ones over at Casa de Campo.
And while I haven’t played Teeth of the Dog, I can pretty safely say the highlight of your trip will be Punta Espada. Play it at least once, if not multiple times. And being just 5 minutes away, it’s a perfect place to be able to hit the course, and then relax and have fun without having to worry about long commutes.
Hacienda and the widely regarded 3rd best course on the island, Coralles, are also right down the street as well – so Cap Cana is great home base to hit some of the best golf in the country (or the world for that matter).
Overall, I’m looking forward to returning sometime soon, experiencing Teeth of the Dog for myself, and having another shot at Punta Espada.
And if I do? I’d be more than happy to stay at the Secrets Cap Cana once again. It doesn’t disappoint.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of the 2019 DR Golf Exchange, and my travel and accommodations were covered. All thoughts in this review are 100% my own opinions, however.