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“What To Expect, & What Not To Expect...”

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The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
Ranked #10 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“What To Expect, & What Not To Expect...”
Reviewed 8 December 2010

I booked this trip for my fiance & I through CheapCaribbean.com a couple of months ago. Since it was a quick decision, I didn't read through the reviews until after we had booked. After reading recent reviews, I was really nervous about our trip. Everyone kept saying how horrible the rooms were, how the food was terrible, how the people were rude... So, I want to set the record straight (from my point of view, anyways.)

We arrived at the airport in Puerto Plata onThursday afternoon. A gentleman asked us where we were staying and showed us to the CheapCaribbean.com desk outside of the hotel. We had not signed up for the hotel transfer, but there was room on the van, so they let us pay up front and took us to the hotel. On the way to the hotel, they give you a "Welcome Packet," as well as instructions to meet at 9:30am in the lobby the following morning. The meeting is with the CC.com representative, Dioby.

We arrived at the resort and check-in was quick and easy. I had emailed the resort and asked them to place us in Building 5, on the 2nd or 3rd floor. I had read reviews saying Building 5 was relatively quick and away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, workers, etc. I'm happy to say we were given a room on the 3rd floor of Building 5. The room was fine. Nothing fancy or special, but it was not a dump. Our bed was not very comfortable, but we made due. Yes, what everyone says about the shower is correct. Ours did not drain well, but we just rolled a towel up and put it on the floor to prevent the water from reaching the rest of the bathroom.

We walked down to the VIP Beach to check it out and get some sushi. The VIP Beach is AMAZING. There are a bunch of beds, a couple of little pools, and stairs down to the beach. We sat at the bar and had a view drinks. We talked with people who had been there to get the scoop on the good restaurants, what time to get in line to get reservations, etc. Now, as for the sushi bar...You have 4 choices: Calamari, Fried Fish, Crab Stick, & "Spicy" Crab. I was expecting a wider variety, but, no such luck. It was decent. My favorite was the spicy crab. And, there is free Wi-Fi in the sushi bar, although it wasn't working the last two days we were there.

There is a "party" around the main pool. It's buffet style with a wide variety of food. To be honest, there were only a few things we enjoyed. We didn't stick around for the "show" because we were exhausted from a full day of traveling, so we called it a night early.

Friday morning we ate breakfast, which was the only meal we ate at the buffet the whole time we were there. They have fresh fruits, breads, smoothies, an omelet station, waffles, etc. After that we went to the VIP Beach around 8:30 or so and found a bed and stayed there until the meeting. Now, I did not want to go the meeting since I had read it was just a sales pitch. But, I was told that if we wanted a transfer back to the airport, we had to reserve it after the meeting. So, we went. And I was so glad we did. We gathered in the lobby and walked to the Blue Lagoon Restaurant. Dioby filled us in on what was accessible to us at the resort via CC.com, told us about the different restaurants, and explained the "excursions" that were available. They have all sorts of things, from a tour of the city, to a waterfall tour, to snorkeling, to zip lining. The meeting was over in an hour. No mention of time share. A man did approach us about going to get our "Welcome Gift", but we knew he wanted to sell us a time share, so we just said we weren't interested and headed to the beach. We at lunch at the restaurant on the VIP beach. The menu isn't stellar, but we heard it was better than the buffet. They have salads, sandwiches, chicken wings, things like that.

As far as getting a bed at the VIP beach, the earlier you get there, the better. The beach opens at 8am, not always exactly, though. I got there about 15 minutes early and still had to wait in line on two different days. If there are particular beds you want (ex. double decker, a double, one with curtains), then I would suggest getting there early and being prepared to run. It's like running of the bulls sometimes. I just threw a towel on the bed and some magazines and went back to eat breakfast, and never were our things bothered.

They know do dinner reservations between 1-3pm. I was under the impression they were taken in the morning, but no. There is also usually a line for that. I got there about 15 minutes early each time and had to wait, but was still able to get the restaurant we wanted. Also, remember you can only eat at each restaurant once a week. I didn't know that until I tried to make reservation for the same place two nights in a row. Blue Lagoon (Seafood) is by far the best restaurant. I had the Rock Lobster (an extra $25, but I deserved it!), and my fiance had the pasta with shrimp, and both were very good. The next night we ate at Trapiche (Mexican). I'm not a big fan of Mexican food, but was told it was better than the Italian or Chinese place. So, I ordered the Filet Mignon, and was very disappointed. It should've been called roast beef and gravy. At least the mashed potatoes were really good. My fiance had the Grouper, and it was okay.

The best food is the buffet at the Welcome Party, which was Monday night. You take a shuttle from the lobby to a peninsula where they have a huge stage and tons of tables and big tents that house the buffet as well as the bar. They had beef, a few varieties of fish, lobster, oysters, duck, veggies and fruit, pastas, desserts, and just about anything else you wanted. A group of us sat at the very back to be close to the bar. We didn't have a server, so it was convenient to be close to the bar. We tipped about 150 pesos and were given two bottles of champagne and glasses, and when we ran out they would bring us more bottles.

Which brings me to the tipping...I had read to tip the servers at the VIP beach and they would take really good care of you. I found it really difficult to get steady service. Most of the time we had to flag someone down or go to the bar to order our own drinks.

Some of the workers were really rude, but others were really nice and wiling to help. Every place will have a few bad apples. There was some maintenance work being done around the resort, and that was annoying, but nothing that was too noisy.

Overall, the trip was really worth it considering the $10 per person, per night deal. However, I wouldn't go there and pay the full price.

I know this review is long, but a lot of what I had read prior to our trip was very general, so I wanted to give a review that cited examples. Hope it's helpful!

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
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19 Thank VictoriaTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Stanhope, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2010

I went with my 2 little ones and my sister and her 2 older ones. We also read the reviews and were trying to accept that it might not be good, but it was great. We were happy eating at the buffet for all our meals. We attended the festivities. We werent harrassed or bothered with to view timeshare. We went Nov. 18-23 of 2010. We had no lines for anything. We got on the beach, had chairs, the pool and the bars. I was surprised my 2 picky eaters were very happy with the food. I can't wait to go again. They were a lot of fun and very nice.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with family
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3 Thank baileythere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Deep River, Connecticut
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2010

I went for a 5 day get-away with two girlfriends (on the $10/night offer) and we had a wonderful time! No complaints on this deal! We were treated to a huge buffet welcome dinner and show the night we arrived. After that we were able to get reservations for any of the restaurants we chose. The Blue Lagoon meal was outstanding . . . we had steak, salmon and grouper all meals were excellent. Bellini's the italian restaurant was equally good for Lasagna, Seafood Alfredo and the Pasta Carbonnara. Last, we ate at the Mexican restaurant and had the Steak meal which once again was excellent. The buffet was varied and you could choose whatever you wanted for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner if you were in a hurry. There were plenty of beds by the beach available although if you wanted a swinging bed, you did have to be there by 8:00 to get one as people did reserve them by putting magazines, etc. on them early.

We had to ask for additional towels, etc. but they were always delivered promptly. The staff was super friendly and eager to please and a tip was a guarantee to get above average service! The drinks were plentiful and premium liquors were readily available. We had a wonderful time and for $10/night we even went on the vacation club "tour" and enjoyed seeing the beautiful facilities if you decided to buy-in. (which we did not!) No regrets and I would definitely go back again and recommend to friends.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with friends
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3 Thank Lynn04081952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Winter Haven, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2010

My husband and I and another couple stayed at Lifestyle for 8 days, including Thanksgiving weekend. We booked through Cheap Caribbean and, although not the $10.00 a night price, it was very, very affordale. For the money we paid, it exceeded my expectations, and was an excellent choice. Because of information received on this site's Travel Forum, we booked our exersions through James at Playa Dorado. Our City/Cable Car tour was $35.00 pp instead of the $50.00 pp charged through the hotel, and we had our own private taxi driver (Fabio was fabulous!), so we did not have to endure crowds and cattle calls. Our Paradise Island tour was $50.00 pp instead of the $90.00 pp, and I was very pleased with it, also. The other folks from our hotel booked through the hotel, and were not aware that it was a 2 hour bus ride to a sandbar with grass huts on it. But the snorkeling was excellent, and I thought the bus ride there and back was half the fun! We wanted to visit Cabarete Beach and Sousa Beach, so when we were approached at the hotel by a tour guide, I asked how much, and he said $70.00 pp for the day. I phoned James, and we got Fabio-- for just $25.00 pp. He is an excellent driver (you need to be there!!) and very knowledgable as well. I'm glad we took that trip.

The food at the buffet was okay at times, excellent at times. The service & food at the VIP beach were always excellent, and while I was never that the "starting line" for the "running of the beds", I never had a problem finding one available. The only restaurant we went to was the Mexican one. The food and service there were excellent. I left $1.00 in the fridge each day, and $1.00 on the bed each day, and never ran out of towels, beer or water. The entertainment around the pool was fun and entertaining. The Thursday party was fun, but the Sunday party is not to be missed-- lobster, crablegs, prime rib and more food than you can imagine. Live band, dancing, fireworks, it was a blast.

I would definitely like to go back, and I would recommend it to friends, giving them a clear insight that "you get what you pay for".

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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6 Thank Dunfer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2010

I loved it here.
The two major flaws were the lines for the VIP beach and the lines for dinner reservations. If you can get over this, you can really enjoy yourself. I was in the VIP beach line between 6:30 and 7am every morning and when they opened the door at 9am and you had to run for your bed. We tried to get people to stop running but that didn't work.

Once you are on the beach, it was like pure heaven...I gave the staff a $10 tip and as soon as I put my drink down another one was waiting for me. They also brought you lunch on the beach...although the fries were always cold. The hot tub is really a cold tub but it felt good to cool off.

Restaurants- Italian was terrible but blue lagoon was fantastic. The Thanksgiving dinner at the buffet was so good- they even had green bean casserole!

I have spent more money and stayed at worse hotels! I was in building 5 and it was clean and had a great view. I loved that they made my clothes into little designs and I always had a ton of bottled water.It was quiet every night except for when there was a dog fight outside my window at 3am but that is life.

Oh and the spa is overpriced!

I would go again in a heart beat!!

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled solo
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Helpful?
6 Thank kikifromboston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 November 2010

Leading up to my trip, I read so many reviews on here and was getting kind of antsy about going. I went with a buddy of mine after we booked through Cheap Caribbean - flew into Santo Domingo and rented a car for the 3hr drive up (it's driving in Manhattan withno traffic lights, no signs, along with 2 foot deep potholes, wandering goats and donkeys, and the worst drivers and pedestrians on the face of the earth). We got there at about 10 pm, checked in with no problems, drove the car around to right in front of our room, and got settled in. The minibar was fully stocked (Presidente, Presidente Light, 7up, Pepsi, and water) and everything was clean and working properly.

We headed down to the lobby bar and made friends immediately - everyone was super friendly and just looking to have a good time. We went to the late night bar for some food after that and drank and talked to people until about 3 am. Got back to the room and called down for more waters and had 6 of them in our hands within 10 minutes.

The ONLY contact I had with a timeshare person or any kind of meeting was when we got a call the first morning at around 9 am saying we needed to come down to a meeting about something about something - I don't remember exactly. I told the guy we'd be down in 5 minutes, rolled over and went back to bed until about 10:30.

The VIP beach is amazing - good food, good sushi, and they treat you like royalty, especially if you tip. There's music everywhere, dancing, food, etc. and everyone there was just looking to have a good time. We went to the casino, which is tiny, and even to a dance club in downtown Puerto Plata with no problems. It helps to know a bit of Spanish.

Overall, this was by far the best, most fun vacation of my life, and everyone I met there felt the same way. The food at the buffet was surprisingly good - a very nice selection every night and the swim up pool bar is a must. Don't let them push you around, be willing to say no, and have some fun.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank NYCTraveler1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 November 2010

First of all, it saddens me that people here are critisizing others for putting up a bad review on the basis that they got a good deal. Just because they had a special that does not change the fact that others were rating this resort as 3 star hotel, so the purpose of of the review is to tell the next traveler who may pay regular price thinking that it is a 3 star and more when in fact its not. To be fair, they have the right idea when it comes to setup and beach beds, ...etc. However, non of that matter as that place is really worse than a jungle:
1. Horrible quality food even their so called al carte restaurants in which you almost never succeed to make a reservation.
2. Very unfriendly staff and some of the male staff are disrespectful and aggressive, but I known that in general about that country " The domonican Republic" before we went their but I thought in the resorts it will be simply not a problem.
3. Rooms are old and motel 6 has more modern and functional ameneties in the rooms.
4. Time Share people: Oh my God.........I can not believe that I saw a review saying that oh they werenot harrassed that much.....total joke. We actually decided to go just because we got sich of being harrassed.
5.The worst of all: be really aware as this resort is visited by locals in big numbers as they must give them a super discount and that should be ok should they know what order or respect is which they have never heard of such a thing.....its truly a horrible ordeal, no matter even f you got your visit there for free. They are loud, disrespectful, cut through you in the line at the buffet, they hold up the tables, messy, discusting behaviors. And that are the adult version of the guests, just imagine their kids what they do.

Just to give you an idea, I always been lazy to write a review about anything.........it is the first time in my life I do it because I can not imagine how horrible that place is and in general unfortunately the dominican republic as a country as they truly 90% of the time are rude and disrespectful people and I am talking about out side the resort as well even as u arrive to the airport. Yes of course you alwasy meet nice people, but I visited 23 countries so far in my life, and never seen anything like this in my life.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank FirstTimeAndLastTime
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 Resort And Spa
Lifestyle Tropical Beach Hotel Puerto Plata
Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort Spa
Hacienda Tropical
Hotel Lifestyle Tropical Beach
The Tropical At Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata

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