Let me preface this review by saying that all in all, we did have a great trip. We do plan on returning next year. We love this place. There were some problems, and lots of great stuff, which can happen ANYWHERE. I will be as detailed as I can, however, please feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.
We booked through a Shareholder, which entitled us to Gold Bands and nearly unlimited access to the resort (with the exception of Deja View Beach, and Azul restaurant, which are for Shareholders only). We had been to the resort last year, so we already knew all our favorite spots, where to go at what times, etc. Serenity beach is my favorite place - I spent a lot of time there. Harmony beach has great food, but I didn't like to hang out there. We'd go for drinks & lunch, then I'd go back to Serenity Beach. Serenity had great food, but I left sometimes during the day for variety. VIP Pool was ok - it's beautiful but each day we went it was very rowdy, so we never really hung out there. Sports Bar was our favorite go-to bar, especially at night - same as last year.
As for the Villa. We stayed in a 3 BR villa. Upon arrival, they tried to put us in Villa 30 which was the most horrible thing I'd ever seen. Old, dated, broken down, dirty - pretty gross. I demanded another villa, to which I was told nothing else was available. I stood my ground and made it clear I wasn't staying in Villa 30. Miraculously, they "found" another available villa - Villa # 53. This one was not quite what I was expecting booking through a Shareholder, but it was acceptable. It was older, and the kitchen was sub-par. But, it was clean, had comfortable beds, etc. It was fine. Not the nice villas pictured on the website, and not what I was expecting. Did it ruin my trip? Absolutely not. The pool area was a nice perk. Again, not as nice / large as I was expecting, and I certainly was disappointed the first day there. But, did it ruin our trip? No. Did we enjoy the pool and use it every day? Yes. We weren't thrilled with the villa, and I'm not going to lie, I was near tears the first day because it wasn't the grand, new villa I was hoping for. But, after the first day I was over it and everything was fine.
Breakfast in the villa - skip it. The food is brought from a truck already cooked on plates, and then the maid microwaves it. If you're only looking for eggs, fruit and some bacon, it's fine. However, if you're into the french toast and pancakes, go to the buffet at Presidential Suites instead. The bread items were microwaved and rubbery / rock hard - totally inedible. We only ate breakfast in the villa a few days - we went to Pres Suites buffet the other times. Same food, but fresh and not microwaved.
BBQ in the villa - possibly the best meal we had all week, only second to Jazz. If it's available to you, do it. SO GOOD. We did this our last night with all of our friends who were at the resort at the same time, and it was an incredibly nice way to end the trip.
Skewers - we were really excited about skewers because it's the first restaurant we ate at last year, and it's outside right on the beach. So, we planned on making our first dinner there a yearly thing for each trip. However, we remembered once we arrived that we didn't like the appetizer spread they automatically serve - chicken livers, okra, etc - and there were A LOT of bugs. Totally to be expected in the Caribbean, but they kept landing in our food so it did kill the appetite. Not the resort's fault at all, but we'll probably skip it next year. The Kafta kebabs were good for the main entree.
Sunday Party - this is where we ate the second night, as all restaurants were closed. Party was wonderful as usual - danced the night away on stage. Food was better than I remembered it being last year. I avoided seafood (especially the lobster) at all costs, as I do think it made me sick last year, and I was absolutely fine. They had these lamb pitas (think GYRO) that were AMAZINGLY GOOD.
Rodizzio - The Brazilian place where they bring out all different meats, etc. Very good - same as last year. Salad bar was awesome and the yellow rice is out of this world. Some of the meats were a little dry on one time around, then they came back with the same meat (chicken) and it was moist. Depends on the batch, I guess. Pepper steak was the best thing they had - every table asked for 2nd's and 3rd's. DELICIOUS.
Jazz - Best meal of the trip. Three of us ordered the lamb chops which were amazing, and the other had the filet mignon which was also very good. This was my first experience with soup on the resort, also, and from then out I made sure to have soup at every meal. The Dominican people really know their soup. AMAZING. Dessert left a bit to be desired for me, but, I'm not really a dessert person to begin with.
Simply Gourmet - HORRIBLE. Absolutely horrible. We remembered once we sat down that we didn't like it last year, either. It was just atrocious. I don't think I've ever had a meal so bad in my life. And it was all of our meals, too. Not just that I was picky, or not happy. It was all just horrible. We won't eat here again. I'd suggest steering clear.
Bellini (Italian) - this was just ok. It wasn't horrible, but nothing to write home about either. We certainly had enough to eat, it just wasn't out of this world is all.
Blue Lagoon - HORRIBLE. Absolutely horrible. Service was not good at all - in fact, we're still waiting for the after dinner tea & coffee they offered us. Food was gross, service was horrible - we won't be eating here again. Last year was the same, but we figured we'd give it another shot. Big mistake. GROSS and frustrating.
Villa BBQ - worth noting again. Best food under Jazz all week. Absolutely insanely delicious and so nice to be at the villa with friends. They sent a chef and a waiter, we didn't have to lift a finger, get dressed, go anywhere, etc. It was PERFECT.
Some other things to note -
Villas Reception and VIP Tower Customer service on the bottom floor are some of the most rude people I have ever encountered in my life. They have a very bad attitude and could care less about anything, or how you feel. I avoided them like the plague, and was nothing but frustrated when I DID have to deal with them. For instance, on our last day, we were confirmed to take the limo to the airport. That morning, a guy came with a shuttle for our luggage and told us to go get on the helicopter. My husband didn't really like the heli last year, so the driver took me to the bottom floor of the tower to talk to the customer service people and figure out why they didn't send the limo. The gal proceeded to scream at the shuttle driver in spanish, and then scream at me that the helicopter AND limo were booked so I could have my choice. When I was worried that the limo might not show up, and perhaps she could confirm that the limo was coming for us? She told me "not to be stupid" and to go wait outside. The shuttle driver took me back outside and started yelling at another guy (presumably some manager of some sort) and then when I stepped in and told the manager that the lady was very rude to me and the shuttle driver, he responded with "yeah, that's how she is". Really? You KNOW this and she still works there? Completely unacceptable in my opinion. Again, did this ruin my trip? No. Is it something I should have had to deal with? Absolutely not.
Another frustrating example - our golf cart broke down about 8pm on Thursday night. I was told the mechanic was gone, and the golf cart center was closed - that I'd have to wait until the morning for service. Fine. But, when I began to call at 8am for someone to come look at the cart or give us a new one, it took upwards of three hours and 15+ phone calls. Nobody seemed to care. The mechanic came, but the cart continued to break down for our last day, and wouldn't start at all the morning we were leaving. Did this ruin my trip? No. Should I have had to deal with this? Especially on my very last day? Absolutely not.
Like I said, all in all - great trip. We had amazing weather, not a drop of rain, great beach time, some pretty awesome food even among the bad food experiences and great service from the beach waiters / bartenders. Will we go back next year? Probably. But, in the meantime, I really wish they'd fix some of these problems especially the customer service attitude in Villas reception and the bottom floor of the tower. With just a bit of training or perhaps even new staffing, they can bring a good / great trip to an INCREDIBLE level, without much effort.
I'm sure I forgot some things. Like I said - feel free to PM Me.
- Also Known As:
- Lifestyle Crown Villas Hotel Puerto Plata
- Lifestyle Crown Villas Hotel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Crown Villas are the ultimate in luxury and exclusivity, as each is a small estate home with sumptuous, private three and four bedrooms that offer guests a unique and exclusive vacation experience. All of these villas are a classical Spanish Mediterranean style architecture, with red tile roofs, stucco plastered archways and distinguished stone columns with generous tropical gardens where hibiscus, bougainvilleas and other magnificent tropical plants abound. All have a private swimming pool, shaded terrace, veranda, kitchen, and a full private bath leading directly off each bedroom. The villas are furnished with rattan, elephant bamboo and a natural Caribbean wattle work and are equipped with air conditioning, overhead fans, and cable television. The Crown Villas are part of the all-inclusive Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort and guests have access to all the facilities of the Resort (excluding the V.I.P areas). A personal maid and an exclusive menu in each of the seven Resort restaurants complete these perfect accommodations. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com and Tingo so you can book your The Crown Villas at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.