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“Just returned from a week at the Cofressi Palm Beach Resort yesterday.”

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Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort
Ranked #12 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed 26 December 2011

My review will be divided into 2 parts, first my review of the hotel and second my personal feelings about it. I will start with non-hotel related stuff just to provide some background.
Airport: We flew out of Toronto on Air Transat in Club Class. The flight was great as usual. We have found Club Class to be worth the upgrade every time we travel. We arrived 20 minutes early in Puerto Plata and got through customs lightning fast. There is a desk for Transat right outside the main doors. Don’t let anyone take your bags (they will try to take them right out of your hands) because all they will do is walk them to the desk.

Shuttle: The bus was big and air conditioned and the bathroom was broken. I find that it’s usually a 50/50 chance with these bathrooms so you are better to go beforehand. The trip to the resort was about 50 minutes with one stop for drop off at another resort.
Check-in: We were a pretty large bunch but check-in took about 15 minutes. We were upgraded to Oceanview from Gardenview without even asking. Our building had three floors and no elevator, if mobility is an issue this would be important to mention to the front desk. The Bell boy was helping a young group of girls with their bags so we decided to walk our own up.

Room: Upon arrival the A/C was on and working as was the fridge. There was a snack waiting for us (ham and cheese sandwiches, yoghourt, banana). Our fridge had 3 beer in it. The rooms are very nice, lots of marble. Everything in our room looked/worked great with a few small exceptions. The power for the room is attached to a motion sensor. After 30 minutes the power will go off until the sensor is tripped. This means that you will never have a cold fridge unless you stay in your room 24/7. We don’t drink alcohol and asked the maid to receive only pop and water. We never got pop but didn’t really care enough to follow up. Our maid forgot to replace our towels 1 day after cleaning. We called and they were replaced within 5 minutes. The maid did a great job for the most part. There were no bathrobes or slippers in the room which would have been a nice touch but again, not a big deal. There was satellite t.v with a fair number of English channels. We brought a laptop for music and movies. There was supposed to be internet in the rooms but it was not working.
We were in building 41 on the 3rd floor. The building has rooms all around the outside with a central corridor. The doors to the rooms close loudly and a lot of noise echoes in the halls. 41 is directly above 2 pools and the beach bar. We are fairly quiet people and we never got to sleep before 2-3 in the morning. People were constantly slamming doors, talking in the hallways and yelling at the bar. 2 nights I waited until midnight and then called security. I really don’t mind people partying and having a good time but common courtesy has to play a part. This was a common complaint of people in our building. We found the bed mattress to be very uncomfortable. It was very soft and you could feel the coil springs in the mattress.


Beaches: We spent our first day on the beach in a bed, very comfortable and relaxing. The resort was pretty quiet when we were there so we didn’t have to get up at 3:00 a.m. to put a towel on it but that was the norm when we left. We often saw beds that were empty with towels on them all day. There are lots of chairs at the beach. The activity center is right there as is the smaller buffet (El Pilon). They play music all day so if you want quiet the pools are your best bet. The VIP beach has a line-up in the morning. It is all beds but they are one right on top of the other, very claustrophobic. We didn’t stay there even when there was lots of room. The beach is nice for walking and swimming. There are vendors between resort sections selling the usual stuff.
TIP: It is much faster to get to the Casablanca buffet on the “Tropical” resort by walking the beach rather than waiting for the shuttle. Once you have passed the excursion boats on the beach, head up the stairs on the right.

Pools: There are pools everywhere and they are all nice in their own way. We spent the most time at the lobby pool. We always found an umbrella and apart from the Transat presentation in the theatre, the pool was quiet. It was also close to the bar and the bathrooms and had a great view of the ocean. The pools are cleaned constantly and they are cold.

Food: We are a vegan couple and found the food to be excellent, lots of choice and of high quality. I used my imagination for some things. They had a Panini press, so I would make veggie paninis (roasted peppers, eggplant, etc.) with a vinaigrette. There was always lots of beans and rice, soups, salads, pasta bar, etc. The spread at the welcome VIP party was amazing.

Restaurants: We only went to 2 ala cartes.
Italian (Bellini): Very good Antipasto table and the pasta was very good as well.
Chinese (Indochine): The food here was horrible. Shu-mai was folded noodles, samosa were deep fried wantons (stuffed-sort of). Our main dish was supposed to be honey glazed tofu with vegetables. We got veggies swimming in soy sauce with a side of rice.

Timeshare: These guys are everywhere, at the entrance to the buffet, on the stairs to the lobby, every where. They will come talk to you at your pool chair or on your patio if you are ground floor. I do agree with Scooter that they are very friendly and not at all pushy. There are quite a few of them though and it will take a few days of saying no to get to all of them. After that, it is always just a good morning. We were at the Jasmine Spa (unbelievable place) on our second day which helped our cause. We just told the guys the next day that we had already gone on the presentation. I don’t think they believed us but they were polite enough to let it go. We heard from others who did go that the property was nice but the pitch was very high pressure.

Check-out: We were told to come back the day we were leaving to see if we could keep our room for $10/hr. The day we left they were checking in 600 people so we could not keep our room. We were allowed to stay until 1:00 but checked out at 11:00 because it was fairly quiet. Check out was literally seconds. They put our luggage in a room that we could access any time. They provide rooms where you can take a shower and we took advantage of this. Because of all the people checking in it took about 40 minutes of standing in line to get the room. Our shuttle was scheduled to leave at 8:25 but since we were already waiting in the lobby we hopped in with the Montreal shuttle and got to the airport a little earlier. It was a smaller and cleaner shuttle and being a little early allowed us to fill out our immigration paperwork.

Overall: They are obviously working to iron out bugs in this resort and were bombarded with people that last few days of our vacation. Because of the noise and the time share part of this resort I don’t think that we would go back. I would give the resort a 4 overall, which would easily become a 5 with working internet, etc... The staff were amazingly friendly and really would go out of their way to help you. The people that got room upgrades, new rooms, etc. were the ones who got the angriest and yelled the loudest. I don’t go on vacation to be stressed out. Relax, smile often, slow down your North American internal clock and I am sure that you will find a lot of things at this resort to enjoy.

Room Tip: We were in Building 41 room 41312 Ocean Front - Very noisy by the pool and bar!
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Cocomo83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,268 - 3,274 of 3,962 reviews

Reviewed 19 November 2011

First of all we decided to go here knowing that the beaches in Puerto Plata are not like Cuba, Mexico or Punta Cana. We had a budget and went based on price vs quality. The resort is beautiful and yes be prepared to walk depending on where your room is. The seven pools offer everyone the choice of either action or tranquilty depending on your taste or mood. Our room was in the newer section and I would recommend anyone to spend the extra money and get the Ocean view suite if you can afford it.

We found the food to be very tasteful with a good variety. We did like the Brasilien restaurant it was very good with a good variety of meats.

The entertainment at night was good enough to occupy our time and add a few laughs, the Micheal Jackson show was worth staying up for.

We also went on 3 excursions. The zipline which we would highly recommend along with the horse back riding for 2 hours. There is a street which goes to Sea World and the Casino there is a small souvenier shop that sells the horse back riding for 2 hours $30.00 dollars, it's a steal they pick you up at the hotel and drop you off back at the hotel, you ride in the mountains and along the ocean, well worth it.

We would recommend this hotel based on price versus quality, the hotel is large with 3 tennis courts and a few basketball courts the food was good and the entertainers always try to keep you busy. If you just want to relax and spend time with your counter part there are many places to find the quiet time your searching for. As mentioned before spend the money to get the updated rooms.

ENJOY.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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12  Thank sunseeker058
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2011

My boyfriend and I went at the end of August, beginning of September. We were told this would be hurricane season, but the weather was absolutely amazing throughout the holiday despite us going only 2 days after hurricane Irene had left. We had one half hour long rainstorm while we were there. However, Lightening can always be seen in the distance, it makes a beautiful show!

Upon arrival we were greeted warmly and had were automatically upgraded to a junior suite, i'm guessing this was because it was down season. Our room was immaculate, beautiful presentation very modern and refreshing. The bathroom was also very well presented, very modern, the shower was spacious and the jacuzzi bath was very relaxing.

The hotel complex itself was spotlessly clean, in the morning's we would always see people scrubbing even the paths. The pools were immaculately clean as were the cutlery used. However, around the snack bar during the day flies would often be seen around the food, which i didn't like. However, you could get a burger or hotdog cooked in front of you or go to the lunchtime buffet, so i opted for that. The seven pools were amazing - never overcrowded, beautifully set out and there was a pool suited to every swimming ability. There was also pools set out for adults only, which was good because i dislike screaming children. There is a children's pool as well with a slide and water features.

People have commented on the service, however, i found if you smiled at them and spoke to them as equals, made conversation etc they were very helpful. because it wasn't busy, we were allowed to book an a la carte restaurant every night. They were all nice, but the brazilian really stood out to us. the meat was amazing, i've searched everywhere in my local area for a restaurant like it! The only downside is they took a long time to serve you, we once had to ask for them to actually come and start serving us.The food at the buffet was also good, a good selection of meat and other foods and the waiters never let your glass empty. There is also a photographer on site, very friendly and comes around with different animals such as parrots to have your picture taken with! He is very friendly and took some beautiful pictures. We were also given genuine coke and sprite glass bottles every day in our fridges, along with beer!

As for booking trips - don't book them with your rep if its thomas cook! We walked down the beach one day and met a man called Jeffrey#1 .. he gave us a personal tour of the city including cable cars, cigar and Mamajuana (a local drink, not a typing error!) factory. Everything included in the thomas cook trip (which they cancelled because not enough people were going) He also offers trips like 'paradise island' for around 60 dollars less than thomas cook offer it for. We enjoyed every single one thoroughly, and benefited more so from the ones we booked separate as we got unlimited drinks and fruit while on paradise island and the thomas cook bunch didn't! also while we were there, we had entertainment almost every night. a dance show, a disco, a cocktail event, a beach BBQ, loads!

The most beautiful place i've ever been, i can truly say i'll never forget it, and i genuinely miss it already.

Room Tip: Ask about upgrade to buildings 40 or 43!
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank RebekahMcHale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2011

Hello Worried Travelers :-)

Fear not! Grand Ambar by Lifestyle and the Cofresi Palm are the same resort and let me tell you this....it is absolutely stunning! I was there in February with a group of friends and we had an amazing time! We have booked again for this February with a group of 15 because we loved it so much and if they are closed for even more renovations.....well I can only imagine how perfect this place will be this time around.

On top of that we have also stayed at the (now) partner resort, Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa, and it is also beautiful...so the fact that we can share amenities is fantastic! I have been to all over the Dominican (Sosua, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and La Romana) and trust me when I tell you that this resort was by far the best and my favorite. As people have said the beach isn't the sparkly white-sand u would find in Cuba or Punta Cana but it is in a bay so @ least you don't have to deal with massive waves or current and besides.....this place has 8 pools, 2 of which have swim-up bars...need I say more? ;-)

The staff are incredible, the 24 hour food is great and the drinks...well you tend to forget when you drink from 8am-4am LOL, A friendly smile and a couple of bucks go a long way here....for my fellow Canadians who have ever had "VIP" bottle-service in a club and paid $100+ for the luxury, guess what....the disco on this resort has a sexy, all white leather VIP area sitting a level up from everyone else and chained off with your own private "butler".....but here's the clincher - you can get it for 8 BUCKS A BOTTLE and still bring your free drinks up with you! :-D

So rest easy.....If you are the type of person who enjoys relaxation, sunshine, having a good time, partying and NO SNOW, I guarantee that you will have a great time here :-). We brought red cups and ping pong balls and set up a Beer Pong tournament…we were the life of the resort!! LOL

Know this though....this resort is set in the side of a hill so there are about 4 or 5 levels to it with about a dozen stairs between so I wouldn't recommend it for individuals with mobility issues. Other than that....perfect!

Feel free to poke me for info or pics....I have added some to “Be Live Grand Carey”.

Have fun and enjoy the beautiful DR!

André

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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20  Thank Dre613
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 October 2011

Not much to say, everything about this place was A-Maze-Ing!!

Room Tip: Book a Suite its worth it
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank mrsalleyne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2011

There are pros and cons to staying in an all inclusive resort. I stayed with my boyfriend for 7 nights in July in their Junior Suite with an Ocean View for our 2 year anniversary. The room was very spacious and very beautiful. It was newly renovated and had a very contemporary feel. We booked directly with the hotel and the pricing was just right for our budget. The pros to staying in this all inclusive resort are that the food is included and there are activities throughout the day by their very funny enetertainment team. The cons really sum up to your stay not being personal. I work for a Small Luxury Hotel in Miami Beach as a Reservations Agent and we are all about making your stay personal and special (especially for the price you pay). My boyfriend called the hotel directly to see if there is anything special that can be done for our anniversary as advertised on their website, but they told him that nothing can be done for the occassion. A fruit plate with a congratulations would have been nice, but apparently they did not offer that. Check-in time was at 3pm and when we got there at 4pm the room was not ready until 5pm. I did not want something like that to bother me during my stay, therefore I let that slide. When we get to our room, the bed was broken. The next day we had them fix it and everything was fine. We made reservations for the different restaurants for the rest of our stay in order to secure our spots. On the 3rd day of our stay, my boyfriend got extremely sick with high fever and terrible stomach aches. It was his first time in the country, therefore I am sure that he was not used to the food. I am from there and I did not get sick, thankfully. On the fourth night, my boyfriend was red with fever and shivering, therefore I decided to call the doctor that they have on property 24 hours. I spoke to a Front Desk Agent at 11pm and the doctor did not show up until 3am after several calls. When the doctor arrived, I asked why it took so long and he said he was never informed. That was unacceptable. They do not have room service, therefore I had to go to get food in their dining room. There were no "To Go" boxes, however they provided me with paper plates. Very hesitant to give me those paper plates because food is not permitted in the room, as I was told on more than one occassion. The doctor was great! We got periodic calls from him checking up on my boyfriend. I wish I knew his name to give him a mention. When my boyfriend was better, we decided to go to one of the restaurants we had booked. When we arrived to the restaurant, we are told that we do not have a reservation and cannot stay to eat. We were also told that all of our reservations were made for the same day. That was the last straw. I went to the front desk and there was no manager to speak to because it was already 7pm. They called the manager and had him work it out so that we can eat at the restaurant that night as it was their mistake in the first place. To sum everything up, we had to ask for service about 5 times the day before we left. We also got a champagne and fruit amenity on that day. A nice gesture, however I was not sure why they couldn't have done that with a simple "Happy Anniversary" note on it.

I apologize that this is so long. The property can be amazing and beautiful, but it can be easily overshadowed by terrible service. When we spoke with a manager, I mentioned everything that I wrote above and more, but all that he picked up on was that we did not have our reservation for the restaurant. I am also Dominican and I spoke to him in spanish. He should have understood every word that I said. Upon check-out I spoke with Guest Services and she just looked at me and asked "What do you want us to do? You already checked out". I would have loved at least for them to waive the $100 medical fee or maybe one night waived. The best would have been an apology. They have to understand that some of us only get 1 vacation a year, if that. We go to these places in order to relax. That was the LAST thing I was able to do. Definitely not returning.

Room Tip: Sea View Junior Suite
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank julissa2652
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2011

My family and I where scheduled to stay at this resort from September 8 to September 15. We booked through red tag (Paula, my rep was incredible!!!), and the trip was being conducted through Nolitours. Piece of advice, NEVER book with them...don't WASTE your money on them because they will take your money and offer you only a subpar trip.

The Carey has been renamed to the Ambar, and for those lucky enough to get to spend your entire vacation there, you will love it!!! I only got to spend a day and a half there and I had fallen in love with it...Such a gorgeous resort.

The pools were unbelievable!!! With seven you never felt crowded, and pretty much every group had an area to themselves. Every staff member you met had a smile on their face. The bartenders at the pool bar where incredible, and wizards at making some really amazing drinks. We had a standard room, and ended up having to change because our TV, fridge and hot water didn't work, and I had blood on my sheets. The night manager Santos who personally took us to change rooms was amazing...that man deserves a raise for what he has to put up with.

Our Nolitours rep lied to our faces. He said the hotel was closing, and they didn't know this until early Friday morning (we had our orientation Friday morning at 9am). In truth, the hotel is actually taking reservations for December (I just went and checked on redtag) under the same name, with the same tour operator, and the same flight path...but it closed??? Our rep also told us that at the new hotel they were transferring us too, we'd be upgraded to Deluxe Superior rooms...basically this was the same as a standard room at the Ambar, just given a fancier name to make people believe they were being given some sort of added benefit. Look at what each room offers...its the exact same.

This trip was to celebrate my parent's 20th wedding anniversary, and they weren't able to have a relaxing vacation at all. I spent a year researching this hotel, so I was in tears when I found out just how bad the other hotel was compared to this.

The hotel in general for the time I spent there was absolutely beautiful, and if you get the chance to go, I highly recommend you do. I gave it such a bad rating because Nolitours is the only tour operator that goes there, and they will soon ruin what is a beautiful resort. Please heed my warning and go else where if it means avoiding them as a company.

Room Tip: Do NOT book with Nolitours if you can find another operator that goes here and you'll have an am...
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  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with family
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11  Thank Auntie-Christy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort

Address: 1 Paradise Drive | Cofresi Beach, Puerto Plata 57000, Dominican Republic (Formerly Be Live Grand Carey)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £88 - £196 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 468
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort – Dominican Republic is the newest jewel in the Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club. Nestled along the Cofresi beach shores, and overlooking the sparkling Caribbean sea, this resort caters to the luxurious enjoyment of both families and couples looking for that perfect getaway. With 468 well-appointed accommodations that range from Adult Only Spa Suites, to Standard family friendly rooms located in a quite setting between the ocean beach and spectacular pool, this is a paradise worthy of the Lifestyle name. The resort was created with space and comfort in mind, making Cofresi Palm a relaxing, enjoyable and satisfying experience for all guests and their families. All rooms have air conditioning, cable television, phones, and ceiling fans, while the decor has a distinctive design, featuring dark wood furnishings. Shaded patios and verandas provide a relaxing place to gather in some of the units. Providing both service and features that are standard for a Lifestyle property, the Cofresi Palm offers a unique luxury accommodations experience. Cofresi Palm provides the easy, relaxed ambiance of the Caribbean in an opulent and elegant setting. Experience the array of beauty and excitement that Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort has to offer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sun Village Puerto Plata
Sun Village Hotel Cofresi
Dominican Republic Sun Village
Sun Village Dominican Republic
Sun Village Spa
Sun Village Resort Dominican Republic
Sun Village Resort Puerto Plata
Sun Village Beach Resort
Sun Village Resort Spa Puerto Plata
Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata

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