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“Beautiful property, mediocre to bad food”

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The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
Ranked #10 of 39 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Charleston, South Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Beautiful property, mediocre to bad food”
Reviewed 4 April 2012

This was a girls' trip getaway booked through cheapcaribbean.com. Booking through them gets you a yellow bracelet at check in. The color of your bracelet determines your "ranking", as different colors have different privileges. Gold or black bracelets apparently outrank the yellow bracelets. Before you book this trip, decide if you want gourmet cuisine on your vacation. If you do, this is not the place for you. The resort is gorgeous, and if your goal is to relax in the sun and have a few beverages (which mine was), you will be fine. The vast majority of the staff is extremely friendly and helpful, especially if you attempt to speak Spanish to them. (I know very little Spanish, but I tried!)

Yes, this IS a timeshare, and they will try to give you the hard sell. But a firm "We are not interested" will take care of that, and you can continue on your way. Don't go anywhere with a staff member who says you get a free gift. Actually, don't go to any type of meeting whatsoever.

We were assigned one dinner reservation when we checked in. We tried to stand in line one morning to get reservations for another night and it wasn't worth it. (We were 4th in line when the door opened and ended up with a 9:30PM reservation; no thank you!) So, that meant we were eating the buffet for the rest of the trip. The buffet: sigh. I SO wanted to like it. They have trouble keeping food hot that really needs to be hot. Nobody wants to eat room temperature or cold fish. The cereal was stale, and the starches far outnumbered the protein options. The birds eill totally land on your table and eat your food if you walk away from it. They swoop in over your head the whole time you are eating. There are also a couple of cats that hang around the buffet.

However, we did discover (on our last night) that the buffet at the sister resort, the Cofresi, is MUCH better. So I would highly recommend walking the short distance to the Cofresi. They will take you by shuttle, but trust me, you want to walk. It really isn't that far, as long as it isn't raining!

Any problems we encountered were fixed immediately. We had problems with our A/C not working, and they came over promptly to work on it. It took two trips, but ultimately it did work. There was no shower curtain in our bathroom, only a wall. This meant that the whole bathroom floor would flood every time we took a shower. Not my favorite thing, but we managed. We thoroughly enjoyed the pools and the beach, and the bartenders were very sweet. With the exception of one incredibly rude hostess at the Mexican restaurant (her name was Rufina), the staff were all very personable and we enjoyed talking with them.

Did i enjoy myself? Yes. Would I go back to this particular resort? Probably not.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
9 Thank lewisvs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Derby, CT
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2012

Ok, I normally do not write review, but felt that I must. Friend and I went for a littel R&R away from our men and children, and that is what we got. The resort is beautiful, the pools are great, loved the ocean. The VIP beach is the best, we usually got there around 8am and were too late for a cabana but had no trouble finding a few beds where we could just relax, read, nap...whatever we wanted. The ocean was beautiful, there are quite a few vendors on the beach in makeshift stores basically begging you everytime you walk by to stop in and buy something. The bar at the VIP beach is great, Raul, one of the bartenders was alot of fun, as were most of the people we encountered. There are no stoppers on any of the bottles so they just pour away :-).
Our room was nice, 2 queen size beds with a large bathroom, nice balcony with a table and chairs and a nice view. Our refrigerator wasn't keeping anything cold, but there was a fresh water cooler at the bottom of the stairs that we refilled our water bottles from when needed.
Here is the unfortunate part...The food is NOT good. I actually believe I had food poisoning on friday night, thankfully by saturday morning it seemed to be gone, but I ended up sticking with the trusty BRAATT diet (Banabas, Rice, Apples, Applesauce, Tea, Toast) and there was no other reoccurence. We met a few people down there that also got sick and one of then had to be taken to the hospital.
All in all it was a great trip, except for that one hiccup, and I would go again...however I would stick with the stations at the buffet where they make the food right in front of you, we had alot of luck with the organic omelets.
The welcome party on sunday is NOT to be missed. It is quite elaborate the show they put on and they food wasn't bad over there.

Room Tip: Higher floors have less AC. We were on the 3rd floor
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
5 Thank Kelli C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2012

The set up of the resort is akin to a mouse trap. If you are a first-timer here, you probably got in through the Cheap Caribbean, getting the "poor-man's" access - motel quality room, a pretty mediocre buffet, an ugly beach, a crowded pool, and a bar where the drinks are served in small plastic cups like at a dental office. The first day they basically let all of this sink in in your gradual awareness that you've probably been had! In addition, all the nice places at the resort as you come to realize, including the beaches, the pools and the restaurants, are reserved for VIP only. So, you go to bed on your first night and you probably tell your spouse that it may not have been the best choice for your vacation. The next morning, right after breakfast, you are greeted by name by a friendly sales man who promises you some gifts and takes you on a hard sell tour of your life....the sell is performed in the spirit of a used car dealership tradition. You are shown the VIP way of vacationing - the various room formats: the resident suites, the presidential suits, the villas - all especially set up to impress you and get you to buy the VIP membership. No one tells you that when you try to use your membership when you buy it, the quality of what you will get will be drastically lower than what you are shown. You are also shown various restaurants that you are told you will be able to use when you get the membership - don't be so fast, the nicest restaurants will always be reserved for somebody else more important than you, just like the best tables at the Welcome Party. The truth is - the whole purpose of this business venture of a resort appears to be raising cash through the sale of the VIP packages. These VIP packages for which people shell out some real cash are none other than a promise that VIP benefits will be there when you come to claim them, but this promise is NOT TRUE! It's routinely broken even now while the resort is relatively young and those members who allow themslves to be fooled into buying these unsubstantiated promises of VIP benefits, will find that the benefits cannot be claimed because the resort is out of capacity to fulfill them and the bitter taste of having been sucked into another pyramid scheme will linger in your mouth! So, my fellow trusting American tourist: think twice before investng your hard-earned dollars that you want to benefit your family and loved ones, the benefit you are so hard sold on may not be there when you actually come to claim it.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank Chris T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2012

My boyfriend and I just got back yesterday and we had a great time!! I read a lot of mixed reviews before booking our trip to Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort through CheapCaribbean. However after booking the trip I then began to read a lot of terrible reviews and was very nervous for our trip from 3/27-4/2. When we arrived at the resort they informed us that our reservation was on the Cofresi side and a shuttle took us there immediately. We checked into the room within a couple of minutes but since our flight was so early we couldn't actually go into the room until later in the afternoon. We were greeted by Annamaria with our welcome drinks and after tipping her a couple of dollars she came back with a jug of juice and a bottle of rum and made sure we had a full drink at all times.

We ate breakfast and lunch every day at the Pearl buffet, which was decent (can't complain when the trip basically cost nothing.) They had a variety of food, but after reading some reviews about people getting sick we decided to stick with some safe choices (eggs, toast, pancakes, pizza, fries, nachos, pasta, etc.)

We were given two dinner reservations when we checked in and were able to change them right away. When we had to make the rest of our reservations we went to guest services at 9am and they were very quick and accomodating. We ate at Johnnys, Bellini, Blue Lagoon and Rodizio. All of them were very good and neither of us got sick at all during the entire trip.

The bartenders at the Cheers bar are very friendly (we loved Maria Isabel) If you tip everyone a couple of dollars here and there they will greatly appreciate it and provide you with excellent service!!! We heard a lot of people saying not to drink the pina coladas because they make you sick, but I drank banana mamas (pina colada with grenadine) every day and I was fine.

We didn't try the VIP beach since neither of us wanted to wake up that early to wait on line but I thought the Cofresi beach and pools were all very nice.

We booked a dune buggy excursion through our Olympus tours rep. It was fun but you get extremely wet and dirty from all of the water and mud you drive through.

We were approached a few times by the guys in the white shirts when we first got there so we told them that we are not going to buy a time share so we don't want to waste their time or ours and they basically left us alone.

The Bravissimo show was very cute and the Sunday VIP party was great.

I have traveled to a lot of different resorts and I think that this was a great trip (especially for the price you pay.) I went with very low expectations after reading the reviews but I think you get more than what you're paying for. I would definitely recommend staying at this hotel rather than the Lifestyle side.

Room Tip: Stay at Cofresi
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank vacayl0ver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 3 April 2012

And the story repeats itself, arrived for a week vacation at Crown Villas to find ourselves downgraded to the Tropical. Beautiful place but definitely poorly miss-managed as evidenced by over booking issues, last century dinner reservation process, staff that is incapable of adressing your needs and require to see their managers or sending you to the next possible desk who in turns sends you to another desk... may i say anything else.
Icing on the cake being that 7 out of 11 got food poisoning while we were there - obviously we were not the only ones suffering as stores started to ran out of Gatorade!
I have travel extensively around the world and can assure you that I will accomodate and understand that there are several definitions for "luxury" but this resort is absolutely unacceptable and a farse.

Room Tip: don't book one!
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank zorro z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2012

Arranged to have a shuttle take us to the hotel- shuttle dropped us off at the wrong one of the to lobbies in the resort. Waited 20 minutes for a hotel shuttle to rake us to the other lobby to Check in. Had an ocean view room with king bed reserved for birthday week surprise but we were the ones surprised with an average dou le bed room facing another building, with tepid water in the shower, a mini fridge that never got cold and walls so thin that we could hear our neighbors all night.
The beach was small and had a sewage stench so w were afraid to go in it.
The pools were nice and the food wasn't too bad for an all inclusive. VIP bar ran out of the top shelf liquor often.
This was my second trip to Puerto Plata and I was not very happy.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Sandy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Midlothian, Virginia
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2012

I booked a girls' trip at this resort for my sister's 40th birthday (8 women total). Having read dozens of reviews on TripAdvisor before booking the trip, I had no idea what to expect about the resort because the reviews are all over the board (except for the food, which seems to be the chief complaint among most reviewers). We decided we weren't going on this trip for gourmet food and could deal with average. The check-in process was painful due to the language barrier. I speak fluent Spanish so it was ENORMOUSLY helpful. Three of our rooms had king size beds rather than the 2 queens. Our room opened up to the pool area with a beautiful view of the ocean. The room itself was average but the bed was extremely hard (although not all girls had this same problem). The shower area floods in the bathroom so be sure to ask for extra towels from housekeeping. The pool area is beautiful and large. We found our way to the VIP beach most travellers speak about and it is very beautiful. There are dozens of beds to sunbathe and several jacuzzis. The bar staff was our favorite part of the VIP beach-they were so charming. They also make extremely strong drinks so beware! Now to food-I gave it a poor rating because the vast majority of the food either had no flavor or was over salted. We ate most meals at the buffet as we were only able to get reservations at an a al carte restaurant one night (Moonlight Grill at Cofresi and even this was separate reservations for all of us). All were very disappointed with the food there. Also, when some of our girls tried to sit together since the restaurant was entirely empty of people, the hostess told us no and became extremely rude, which surprised us as most of the staff were quite nice. We had better luck with the buffet at Cofresi (the sister resort) and the staff there were also friendlier. After overhearing that we were celebrating my sister's birthday, they surprised her with a wonderful song and delicious cake with a giant sparkler. When all is said and done, I will not book again at this resort. TIPS TO TRAVELLERS: Don't go on the timeshare tour if you don't want to-you are NOT obligated to go. They tell you on the bus that it is very important to meet them in the lobby at 12:00 the next day but this is really the timeshare tour and the timeshare people loiter at the restaurants to accost you. Tip for good service-you will reap the rewards. Tip your bartender-this is a no brainer. Don't pay for WiFi-connect at the VIP beach. Bring walkie talkies for communication with large groups. If you don't know Spanish, try to learn a few phrases and words (please, thank you, water, bathroom, coffee, more, "where is..."). Brings many $1s and $5s for tipping and purchases-they do not give change in US dollars. Haggle with the people trying to sell you things-NEVER pay full price.

Room Tip: Avoid a room which opens to the pool area if you go to bed early!
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Lesleykay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort

Property: The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
Address: Columbus Torre 1 | Playa Cofresi, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic (Formerly Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 282
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set within the sprawling Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort, The Tropical offers a classic hotel vacation experience set within quaint, two- and threestory, Mediterranean-style buildings. The mood is laid-back and distinctively Caribbean. Guest enjoy all resort facilities and amenities (excluding the V.I.P areas) including swimming pools, a choice of excellent restaurants, exercise rooms, tennis courts, windsurfing and so much more. The Lifestyle Tropical is Ideal for couples seeking a private island hide-away with all the advantages of a world-class resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lifestyle Tropical Beach Hotel Puerto Plata
Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort And Spa
Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort Spa
Hacienda Tropical
Hotel Lifestyle Tropical Beach

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