We stayed at The Tropical for a total of 6 nights/7days and were a little worried after reading the wide variety of reviews that exist (everything from total crap right through to paradise!). Knowing the price that we paid to stay, conscious of what we should expect, and it's probably fair to say that it probably exceeded my initial expectations.
Checkin was fairly quick and easy, but there wasn't a long line when we arrived, but we did hear some horror stories from people who had a terrible checkin experience, so I think that really comes down to what time you arrive, and how busy things are. We were escorted to our room by a cheerful fellow who pointed out the main things on our way, the room was fine, sure, things looked a little dated, but nothing was broken and the AC worked. My biggest complaints regarding the rooms were that housekeeping was very inconsistent with the time they came, sometimes as early as 8am, sometimes as late as 5pm. The other issue we found was that everything in the room was always damp, even clothes that hadn't been worn were damp. I'm guessing that the AC units don't dehumidify which causes this problem. Most concerning about this (and I heard this from many people that I spoke to) was that by the end of 6 nights, we all felt like we were coming down with a chest infection from the dampness, thankfully that cleared up pretty quick once we got back to the US.
The pools and bars can be a lot of fun, but keep in mind that given what you pay for staying here, everything is done on a budget price. The liquor is the cheapest that they can buy and is pretty nasty. I drank beer the whole time as I just couldn't stomach the cheap and nasty liquors that they served. More staff would be a definite bonus as there was often a quite long wait for service, although if you found a helpful barman and tipped him consistently, he would always be quick to help you (for obvious reasons).
The restaurants were the most disappointing aspect of this trip for me, again, you get what you pay for, but most of the food in the buffet's was quite simply slop. Occasionally it was fantastic, but massive queues for the 'cooked fresh' options, incredibly slow to refill food items that were emptied out and just a generally poor quality of food. Some of the restaurants were significantly better, we tried the Italian, Brazilian and Mexican whilst be were there, Brazilian and Mexican being or definite favourites, so much so that we ate twice at the Mexican (remember, tipping goes a long long way, even for getting tables in restaurants where you don't have a reservation). We didn't have the chance to try the Indian or Asian which we would've liked to try, but we were told that both were of mediocre quality by new friends that had eaten at them.
The tours that are available are ok, but they *always* end with being taken to some locals who try to sell you mountains of mass produced crap posing as something real. If you can say no to those people and step outside the box, then they are generally worth doing and a good way to get away from the resort and see something new and different.
All in all, we probably wouldn't stay again, if for no other reason than there is so much to see in the world, why keep going back to the same place. But seriously, if you don't go in with expectations set to high and and are properly forewarned and educated about what to expect (ignore the reviews at each extreme is probably advisable) then you can certainly have a great time here. Just be aware that (like others have said) they will try and sell you into their Vacation Club, it might be your thing, it might not be, just be aware. They don't get upset if you say no, just be firm about it.
- Also Known As:
- Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Hotel
- Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club Hotel Puerto Plata
- Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Hotel
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