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.
- 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