We were booked at the crown villas for 10 days under VIP Blue bands. After reading the reviews here and not really understanding the different levels/color bands, we secured the last 6 days of our trip on Gold Bands. This means that we booked through a shareholder that was able to pass on the "Gold" bands and all their benefits. Below is the review of our experience broken down into the various categories so you can scroll through:
The resort is beautiful and people there couldn't be nicer. Our VIP Rep Luis Jose was wonderful, our maid Edu vige (sp?) was amazing. Everyone else was nice, courteous and always with a big smile. Biggest draw back is that you do not know what accommodations they assign you till you get there and by then its too late!!
We had requested a 4-bedroom villa (8 people) and insisted we do not get split up. It is important to note that regardless of who you book through, you do not have guaranteed accommodations. This means that they can pick the villa for you, split your group up, etc. We were indeed split up. We were put into two 2-bedroom villas that were attached by a wall but had two separate entrances, etc. This presented a lot of logistic problems since we were traveling with young teens. So, our one 4-bedroom villa was split into two 2-bedroom villas which presented double the problems. They insisted that it was one villa. We requested to move and they declined. Both Villas were very old, scarce furniture, air conditioning that never quite worked right and no water pressure whatsoever. Many glass sliding doors that took us days trying to figure out how to properly lock and secure them. Pool furniture was old, dirty and some broken chairs that did not recline properly.
All restaurants were good. We loved Jazz. Azul is not a restaurant we had access to for dinner but we did go there for lunch and loved it. Simply gourmet, Blue Lagoon, Il Pilon were good. Our least favorite was the Asian restaurant and some in our group liked the Mexican restaurant and some did not.
All the beaches there are very nice. Different services at different beaches. (Serenity has a crepe bar, Harmony has two different grills and an ice cream bar). When we were on VIP Blue we could go to the VIP beach, Confressi and Envy. Because of its proximity we went to VIP. Its very nice but overly crowded since all color bands go there. When we switched to gold we went to Serenity and Harmony and they were both gorgeous.
There are so many different colors, levels and privileges that it is impossible to review here. Shareholders get black bands, if you book through a shareholder you get a gold GM "Guest member" bands with most gold privileges (just a couple of restaurants that we couldn't go to because they are for members only). Members have VIP Gold bands and if you book through a member you get VIP Blue bands. The only difference between GM Gold and VIP Blue is easier access to restaurants and the beaches (serenity, harmony, and lifestyle) which is totally worth it. You also get a golf cart that seats 4 which my 15 year old loved. Besides that there are different color bands for RCI and other time share travelers. They do not get access to Serenity, harmony or lifestyle beaches and more limited access to restaurants. There is also the "basic blue" bands then we also saw yellow bands, etc. Really too many.
With the gold bands we got one free day at Ocean world. However, when we went to book it they said they were completely booked for the week. Apparently ocean world allows a limited number of people from each resort. We did book (through Armando who is one of the nicest people) and paid for the Zip and Splash excursion. It was $120/person but it was an all day. Zip lining then horseback riding then lunch which was great. In the afternoon we did the waterfalls which were also great. Highly recommend this excursion.
Overall it was a nice vacations. Not sure I would ever do it again. I like to know and understand where I am staying. Having old villas with their respective problems and being split up is a deal breaker for us. Once there we had to make the best of it but don't think I would risk it again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A classical Mediterranean style Villa, with red tile roof, archways and stone columns with a magnificent tropical garden. The Villa offers a private swimming pool, a superb location, shaded terrace, veranda, kitchen, and a full private bath leading directly off each bedroom. Also included is a maid and a golf-cart. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Lifestyle Crown Villas Hotel Puerto Plata
- The Crown Villas At Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata