Our group of friends and family (ages 3 - 43) just returned from a week at the Be Live Carey. We travel quite often and I will be honest and say that Puerto Plata was not high on my list of places to visit especially after reading things on TA. In a word, I was completely wrong and was glad to have visited POP. The people, the scenery, the beaches are as beautiful as anywhere we have been.
The resort itself was a bit of a gamble. Usually, like most TA addicts I research our vacations to a point bordering on insanity (my wife would say I crossed that point long ago!). Months of research pouring over reviews, reading between the lines and checking every resource possible results in a well educated decision on where to vacation.
Our trip to Be Live was almost a spur of the moment decision, I was living dangerously... with no recent reviews to go by we choose the resort based solely on old reviews, promotional material from the resort itself (they're always honest...aren't they!?) and a gut feeling.
After weeks of night sweats and anxiety I can say this was one of the best vacation choices I've made. Was it perfect? No, but then perfection is a pretty subjective concept.
As other guests have commented the resort itself is stunning. A lush, tropical feel is pervasive throughout the property. Groundskeepers work tirelessly to maintain and expand the beauty. Multiple levels create many distinct areas each defined by its own pool. The pools themselves were clean and inviting. The only negative was the pool signs...they all (even the kids pool) say 'adults only' which caused some problems for our children. There are 2 adult only pools, one at the spa and the second level pool with waterfalls. The old signage was being replaced while we were there so l assume they will be fixing the pool signs as well.
We had one of the new garden view suites directly by the beach pool. The room was large with modern, clean lines. The bathroom had a large jacuzzi tub, separate walk-in shower and separate toilet area. The bathroom floors and ceiling were fully tiled and quite beautiful. As I said the decor in the room was modern and may not appeal to everyone. There were a couple of issues with the room. We were missing a garbage can and chairs for the balcony but these were resolved quickly. The towel bars in all the rooms seem to have come off and I am sure this will be resolved with a different bracket. And our mini fridge was finicky. If little things like this ruin your vacation then you should probably stay home and enjoy re-runs of Martha Stewart.
The food at the resort was good. I think we were spoiled by our cruise last year or else I would probably rate it higher. Our daughter did have a bit of a challenge finding things to eat but then she has a challenge eating at home! The Brazilian restaurant was excellent. They bring a selection of 10-11 different meats on a skewer. At first you think they are skimping on the quantity but as the meal progresses and your waist expands you realize the portions are just about perfect.
I didn't see a lot of the shows. The one show we did go to was a magician and it was a lot of fun...well at least I think it was...a few too many pina coladas, mama wannas, and a large shot of 151 proof meant that I was the 'guy' that gets dragged on stage and is fodder for the magician. Other members of our group went to some of the other shows and while entertaining there is room for improvement. Based upon the efforts of the staff, I am sure with time the shows will be very good.
I've read many reviews about the beach most describing it as 'natural' and how it doesn't compare to the white sand of Punta Cana. Is it white sand, no. Is the water crystal clear, no. Having said this, the beach is as beautiful as any I have seen (Bahamas, Mexico, Florida, even the beaches on Georgian Bay) The surf crashes on the point of land to the right of the resort and the ocean is multiple shades of blue. There are areas to the far left that are calm and great for kids to explore and find shells. The waves roll in in varying degrees of strength allowing for boogie boarding and great swimming. A nice coral reef is about 30 ft off shore and the water visibility was much better than I thought it would be. There aren't a ton of fish but they are there and I enjoyed snorkeling everyday.
Overall, our vacation was phenomenal. The resort staff are incredibly friendly and I would often see the same servers at 7 am as I would at 10:30 pm meaning they work long hours and are still able to smile at the fat tourists. If there is a negative, then it would be the 'vacation club' people who are in white shirts. just like 'drugs' just say 'no' and they shouldn't bother you too much. As the week progressed everything improved (good to great) which indicates the staff is continually working to make the Be Live Carey one of the best resorts in POP.
I'll make a comment on Puerto Plata in general. The area is absolutely beautiful. Mountains, ocean and jungles provide a lush backdrop to your vacation. The city is a working port city but is quite clean and I felt as safe or safer here than any of the other cities I have visited including North American cities.
If all you want is an AI and white sand beaches then go to Punta Cana but if you want an awesome vacation with an endless array of excursions( I'll review some separately) and a chance to experience the 'real' Dominican Republic then go to Puerto Plata and the Be Live Carey.
- 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