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“What difference a year makes” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort

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The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Columbus Torre 1 | Playa Cofresi, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (Formerly Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 45 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Sosua, Dominican Republic
Level Contributor
117 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“What difference a year makes”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2011

Well it has been a year since our last visit to Lifestyles Tropical resort. We just got back from taking advantage of Cheap Caribbean’s $19 a night deal. This included VIP beach access.
I can say that this year we were somewhat disappointed in the resort. Yes we certainly did get our money’s worth but for the traveler who was paying a regular rate or even for some of the time share traders I would say it may have been a letdown. Here is what we found:
The hotel grounds were very well maintained, clean and actually very nice. The grounds staff and maintenance staff were excellent and always wanting to please. We actually had NO water one afternoon but it was fixed and back to normal in a short period of time.
We did find the front desk personnel somewhat less then interested. It always seemed that what you asked for or wanted could not be dealt with then but you needed to come back later or tomorrow to talk to someone who was not there now.
The rooms are looking very dated. Hard to believe in this day that the room was equipped with a 19 inch CRT (old fashioned) TV. Sorry but they should have flat screens of some type. The furniture was old and no comfortable chair or desk in the room. However the room was clean and the bed very comfortable, the AC worked great and the water in the shower was hot. We also had to call every day to get our mini frig stocked and even with doing this it was not always done.
The food was the real disappointment. The quality certainly was a peg (or two) below last year. They also only had one of the usual four ala carte restaurants open, and the food at them was not great. At the indochine restaurant the food was way over salted and the portions especially on the appetizers was extremely small. The Sweat and Sour soup was one of the worst I had ever tasted. The Italian Restaurant’s food was almost inedible. I noticed every diner in the place returned his plate with almost none of the pasta eaten. Once you removed the breading from the Chicken Parnassian you could almost eat the chicken. I will say the Mexican restaurant was not bad and the ribs were pretty good. As to the buffet again we found the food to be of poor quality other then the afternoon they had rotisserie Chicken which was excellent, otherwise nothing inspiring or even well prepared. We also noticed a marked decrease in food options on the buffet.
Now we understand it is low season and they have fewer guests hence decrease in services but they are still trying to impress visitors and trying to sell time shares in the resort and the food service I would imagine will not help this cause.
A word on the time share “sharks” we found them very reasonable and a simple “we are not interested” the first day and we were not bothered again.
We did meet some very nice visitors from all over and in spite of it all we all had a good time


  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
1 Thank B0bK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Huntington Beach, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2011

I know that people with good reviews of this place are saying it was not that bad.

I think the difference is expectation. If you expect to go to a an all inclusive resort and be treated like a VIP, like what Cheap Carribean says will happen, then you will be very disappointed.

People with the good reviews said that maybe the staff was not helpful because of language barriers- however, the staff managed to be helpful and courteous to those with the better wristbands. If you had a true VIP wristband (the kind that you pay 10,000 a year for), the staff was on top of everything and very helpful. If you have a cheapcarribean wristband, that is not the case.

I have been to other all inclusive resorts, and I know what good service is, despite language barriers. This was not good service. I hurt my ankle on an excursion and came back to the hotel looking for a bag to put ice in. My brother speaks enough spanish to explain what happened to the hotel and asked for a bag. She told him to "come back tomorrow". At breakfast, we would ask for Orange Juice, and it took 5 to 10 minutes to arrive. WE did have one helpful server at the end of our stay, who we tipped because it was nice to have good service. At the Chinese restaurant our server rolled his eyes every time we ordered something. He did it to the couple next to us as well.

I realize that in another country you will eat different foods, things that you are not used to, and every time we ate outside of the resort we had amazing local food. The quality of the food at the resort is overall not good- local or not. The food temperature is always off- either too hot or luke warm,. Of course you can always find something good if you look for it- we loved the omlette bars at breakfast and the pasta bar at dinner. The mexican restaurant had great food, as long as you don't order mexican food- we had the filet mingon and the ribs.

Also, Cheap Caribbean promises name brand alcohol. They do not have anything name brand, except on the one VIP beach, and you have to specifically ask for it. If you don't they will give you the cheap, watered down stuff.

Overall, I think if you are going here, you really have to know that you are not getting what cheapcarribean is selling- a VIP experience at a luxury resort. You are getting to be in another country and experience their culture at a cheap rate. If you think of it that way, it's okay. After a day of shock that what they sold us was not what we got, we made the best of things, and mainly stayed off the resort and did excursions.

Quick hint: if you want to get the cool cabanas in the only VIP area available to cheapcaribean customers, wake up at 7:30 (doors open at 8), put your towels and magazines on them and go back to bed. Otherwise, those fill by 9 or 10.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
31 Thank stephaniedawn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2011

Be prepared to be treated like a second class citizen. Checked in with a hurried receptions who did not explain that most of the resort was off limits to those of us without a gold band. When we checked into our room it was freezing cold. We went to bed and used the blankets we brought with us on the plane to keep warm. The next morning our phone kept ringing with someone telling us the breakfast buffet ended at 10:30 he called four times. We finally made it to breakfast before 10:30 and found out he only wanted us for a timeshare presentation. We were shown all the great places we could have stayed if we payed a whole lot more money.

After refusing to buy a new timeshare we went back to the room which was still freezing, we called three more times they said they fixed it, it was not . They came a third time and broke the air conditioner . After t he air conditioner was broken the floor became pooled with water.. We complained About the water on the floor it turns out if the air is broken it causes moisture in the room. Also the toilet kept running which we later found out was also broken. If you don't realize by now this resort isn't worth the money. The food was at best average, you get tired of the same food everyday not much variety. They have no qualms in asking you to leave if you find yourself in the wrong area with the wrong bracelet. I've traveled a lot, this was the worst experience I've had at a resort. The only redeeming factor is the wonderful people of the Dominican Republic. Do your self a favor find a different resort....

Room Tip: Book online not through a timeshare
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
23 Thank BigD4297
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan, NY
Level Contributor
88 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2011

I almost cancelled my trip as well after reading some of those reviews. So glad I didnt.
First thing people need to understand is that most of these people's first language is Spanish. So they try their hardest to understand and accomodate you but there is a language barrier.
The rooms are very basic and small, but we had air conditioning every day. The sheets and towels are on the cheaper quality. But I didnt come to a resort to be in my room all the time. So to sleep in, its fine. They have a old TV but it has all the basic stations one would want to watch. There is so much to do at the resort, that i only slept in my room.
I went with my 11year old cousin. He had a great time in one of the 3 pools. they have tennis courts with amazing coaches if you want lessons or you can play by yourself. There are bike rides every morning around the whole resort. There are swim up pools for alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. The VIP beach is beautiful and you have servers coming over with food or drinks. You can sleep on swinging beds and no one will bother you. The beach itself is small but you can go kayaking, boating from the aqua center located on the beach.
The pools are beautiful. And the guys that work in the animation center are so much fun. They get to know each person if you let them and make you feel welcomed by including you in all the activities and games around the pool. They are very friendly and remember you. At night, the dances and at the club, they are there to entertain you. My cousin still talks about those guys bc he loved how fun they are. If you go, say hi to Sexy Face, Scooby Doo and Flex for me!!
My only complaint is the food. Making reservations to the other restaurants is only btwn 1 and 3. So we only ate at the Italian place. But the food at Casablanca isnt bad, it get repetitive after awhile. The Welcome party is amazing.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
1 Thank nki65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2011

First I must say that I was terrified when i saw previous reviews regarding this resort but i really didnt have any issues when it came to this resort. I booked with cheap Caribbean and was able to use the VIP beach area, this area was very nice well kept and food and drinks were great. People said you had to get there early to get beds but i had no issues, it was a bit hard on the weekend but during the week i was able to get beds with shade at any time>> Had no problems with check in, stayed in the 4th building which was close to everything, stayed in a standard room, the room was fine for the time we spent in there (which was only to shower, get dressed and sleep)/ many others stated that the shower was a problem cause there was no door or curtain but i simply put a towel on the floor and i was fine. AC worked well, staff came and replaced sheets and towels everyday and my fridge was filled almost everyday. Now, regarding the sales people with the white collar shirts that try and sell you a time share, the can be a bit annoying, just to get it over with i went on the tour, i did let them know i didnt have alot of time to spare and reminded the sales person a few time just so it wont take long, it took about 45 mins, (word to the wise if you like to travel and have the $ its a good investment to buy the timeshare, i bought it but not till the end of my trip cause i wanted to speak with others that have purchased it) once i did the tour, when i was approached i told them i did the tour and they did not bother me after that. Regarding service, i had no complaints, pretty much everyone was nice but remember $1 goes a long way with the staff so bring singles and if u run out the currency will be more than happy to supply u with singles. Food... they tell u to stand in line at 1pm to get reservations which i never did because i always forgot, but i simply went to the restaurants and let them know that i will tip the staff and i was able to eat at 3 restaurants, seafood, mexican and chinese, .. seafood place called blue lagoon was the best.. (steak was awesome).. I also ate at the buffet once on Italian nite, it wasnt that great but it was edible.. I heard the other nites were good.. i ate at the buffet for breakfast everyday and just be aware they serve the same breakfast everyday, but it was fine.. People said that they got sick and i did not get sick at all, The Thursday BBQ and Sunday nite party were really good... I did go to ocean world, it was fun.. The only thing i would warn people about when going to this resort is doing excursions, do it within the hotel, they have 2 onsite and you will be better off, i went outside for one of my excursions (people located next to the fake walmart) and was a lil disappointed but i learned my lesson, >> now my biggest and really only complaint is the merchants.. the resort lets these merchant on site by the pool, they are the worst, they will harass u everytime u walk by them even after u tell them no so try to avoid them when they are there by walking in the opposite direction/ Overall i had a great trip and the resort was fine, just make sure u dont go there with extreme expectations and u will have a good time

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
11 Thank missmara77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2011

Ok so let me start of by saying I was prepared for the worst when it came to booking with this resort solely based on the reviews on Trip Advisor. I scored a great deal with CheapCarribean.com for $19/per night All-inclusive. With a deal like that how could one complain? (Well just a little). I was prepared to feel like a 3rd class citizen. But that was not the case for me and my two friends’ .We had a great time and met some really cool people at the resort. We stayed for 4 nights from Aug 26-Aug 30 (during the time Hurricane Irene was in the US, which thank God didn’t interfere with our trip as it has for the majority for others. We were really blessed to have a good trip.)

My friends and I only had two caste system experiences. As we were wondering around the resort we came upon the VIP Serenity beach. As we approached the steps we were told we do not have access to this area. But we did have access to the V.I.P beach which is the same set up as the Serenity Beach excluding the hammocks. Our second experience was after the nightly show at the Coliseum as we were leaving we saw some people heading to the direction of the VIP Pool Bar area so we followed suit only to be denied entry because of our wristbands. Besides the VIP Pool area looking real swanky it was DEAD almost every night…like total of 10 people or so. So we were not missing out on anything. And the truth of the matter is the majority of the people residing in the villas or suites hang out in the Tropical Beach resort area because it’s lively and a focus of where a lot of things happen.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa is part of the Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort which includes 4 other resort properties enclosed in one area, so basically 5 living resorts in one. (The Tropical Beach, Presidential Suites, The Crown Villas, The Crown Suites, And THE RESIDENCE SUITES)This is the reason why there are different colored wristbands and different privileges that go along with them. Booking with the Tropical Beach gives you the basic all-inclusive privileges, booking thru Cheapcarribean.com (white bracelet) gives you some “VIP” perks such as access to the VIP beach and the “VIP Welcome Party and Ocean Word (only on Thursdays). This is the reason as some feel like it’s a caste system. The Tropical Beach resort is the budget resort (easy on the pockets) out of the 5 properties of the Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort. But do not be mistaken the rooms are just as contemporary as the other resorts on the property.
I manage to break down some of the color coding of the bracelet: white bracelet-cheap-Caribbean staying at the Lifestyle Tropical Beach resort, Gold shimmering bracelet: Presidential Suites, Blue bracelet: staying at the Crown Villas but is not an owner of it. Black bracelet: crème of le crème. Members that own the property they are staying at and have ALL the VIP privileges (even the cool helicopter rides to the airport). I saw a few with orange wristbands but didn’t get the opportunity to find out what it status meant.

Check-In: The lobby was very busy. Check-In was slow and disorganized around 4ish pm. The bell boy did a nice job explaining things about the resort and how certain things operate while carrying our luggage to our room.
Our Rooms: We were placed in Building 3 which was close to the lobby/bar and directly across from the Casablanca restaurant (all you can eat buffet). Our room was simple and clean and had a balcony with two chairs and a table. All the rooms have a balcony. The rooms were not outdated at all. The bathroom shower stall I was not too fond of only because there was no closing/barrier to prevent water from escaping the shower area, expect to use your white towels to soak up the water on the floor. The bathroom did have some toiletries. The AC and Fan worked very well. I loved the two big sliding closet mirrors. The TV had some US channels like ABC, CBS, and NBC which were great for tracking news reports on the Hurricane Irene. HBO in English was great also with the Spanish subtitles.

The Food/Drink: Man ..the buffet style food at the Casablanca restaurant was G-O-O-D. I honestly don’t know what is wrong with some of those reviewers’ taste buds if you couldn’t find one item of food that was good and to label the food as horrible. If you every paid $30 for buffet food at the Showboat at Atlantic City you would know that the buffet food there is horrible. So I have something to actually compare it to. Now let’s talk about the all-inclusive liquor they serve which s was downright HORRIBLE. I had had 3 drinks thru out the first day there and I got ill which gave me diarrhea. I stayed away from drinking all alcohol on the resort except from the VIP beach which serves REAL premium alcohol which I did not get sick at all. I spent most of the time eating from between Casablanca and the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon serves food when Casablanca is closed and prepping for the next meal time and it also stays open late nights when you’re hungry around 3 am in the morning like I was after partying..lol. You can also take you food to go from both restaurants just ask for a container.
We were able to book one reservation at the day of check in which was around 4 pm for the following day so we luck out because that restaurant still had availability. We ate at Trapiche Paradise (Mexican Restaurant). The food was somewhat good; certain items were a hit or miss, like their guacamole, which looked like runny green oatmeal. The margaritas were disgusting because they use the cheap nasty liquor. My soup and entrée was delicious.

The Welcome Party on Sunday’s is not to be missed. The food is in abundance and top of the line delicious. It felt like a big wedding reception party. The entertainment was on point. The saxophone player played his heart out. The fireworks …the champagne. It was wonderful.

SPA: Get the opportunity to get a tour of the spa it’s real nice. I booked an appointment for a nice package deal but cancel because I’ve spent too much money on excursions and shopping for gifts.

TIPPING: I didn’t do much tipping at the resort besides once at the VIP beach and for the bell boy who carried our luggage to our room and from the room during check-out. And I still received pleasant service. I do believe it’s about the aura you bring. You should ACKNOWLGE your servers and workers on the resort. Be friendly and say hello/hola..Buenos Dias. Stuff like that goes a long way.

Thanks to the reviews we were able to avoid the timeshare guys with their clip boards, mostly due to the fact that (1) they harass you at breakfast time at the Casablanca restaurant. Which we never had an opportunity to eat because of our early morning excursions or we missed breakfast time. They tried to talk to us but we just skip on by them and told them we don’t want any free gifts and kept it moving.

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Room Tip: Building 3 was a nice location. Right next to the lobby bar area and across the Casablanca resturant...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
13 Thank UrbanTravelBugg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ridgewood, New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2011

My family n I (19 of us) stayed at this hotel during the second week on August. We were very excited about our family reunion and our vacation together, but the very first impression that this hotel gave us was awful!!!! It took 2HOURS for check-in. I have never seen a front desk staff and supervisor so unprofessional! After finally getting our rooms (7 of them) one of the had no AC, we reported this right away but of course it took the hotel hours to figure out what they were going to do. I can go on and on and on about all the bad service given to us for 4 days and all I can say is that, the staff only caters to the VIP members. They even tell you in your face when you ask any question or have any request. They make you feel like your money is worth nothing if you are not VIP. I had a customer service concierge tell me "Oh that's what happens when you go the cheaper way" just imagine that. Very disappointed with this experience! If you wish to stay at this hotel and want to be treated like you are suppose to be treated u MUST pay the VIP accommodations if not you will feel like how we felt. Everyone that was not wearing a Gold VIP resort bracelet had the same complaint about the staff. Upper management should take into consideration of re-training everyone and not having the staff focus so much oh how much you paid for your room, because practically we eat at the same restaurant, bath in the same pool and walk on the same sand..........

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
12 Thank Elizabeth S
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

Address: Columbus Torre 1 | Playa Cofresi, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (Formerly Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa)
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#6 Family 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

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