I confess that because of previous resort experiences, I wasn't really looking forward to this one and figured I would spend as much time off-resort as possible, but after arriving and seeing the sheer size of the place, meeting the excellent staff and experiencing the food and hospitality, I am pleased to say that I only felt the "need" to go off-resort on one occasion, as I wanted to experience the Sosua beach area nearby.
Where should I even begin? I'll start with the staff, because to me, the facilities are secondary. From my very first bar experience at the Cofresi lobby/pool bar area while I waited to check-in, I was made to feel very welcomed. David and Ana Maria ensured that I was sufficiently excited about my upcoming week with the resort.
Once settled in my room, I ventured out and met Spaghetti and Mosquito at the Cofresi beach pool area. What characters! They cracked me up and I looked forward to seeing them every day. Randy the lifeguard ("Oh my god!") was always a delight, too.
The waiting and entertainment staff all work extremely hard to ensure that everyone's experience is excellent. I have pretty high standards and am pleased to report that they all met or exceeded my expectations. As my travel mate stated "you think about them moving your plate away and suddenly, it's done!" She was so right. They were always on top of things.
I think my favorite part of the staff is their willingness to help, in general. Whether it's making your vacation that much better, or helping you learn more Spanish, they were all incredible. Javier at Bellini had us in stitches -- unfortunately, he thought we were laughing at him, at first, but once we conveyed that it was our own inadequate Spanish speaking skills that were the cause of laughter, we all had a good chuckle together.
The Thursday night resort party was possibly one of the most fun things I've ever done, anywhere, and I can attribute a lot of that to Paull from the Tropical. Wow, is all I can say. I had a blast at that party. The DJ was excellent, but Paull really made the experience a memorable one. These guys (and gals!) work so hard for so little but you would never know it -- they are extremely good at their jobs.
As to the actual facilities, I could not have been happier. My room was amazing and the grounds were always immaculate (except on the beach, where the plastic cups from the resort would litter the ground -- thankfully, there's always a garbage can close by -- do your part and help the environment, please. I don't care if it's not your mess, it's your earth).
The VIP beach is an experience like none that I have had before. Do yourself a favor and make the effort to get there before it opens one day so you can reserve a spot. Even if you only do that for one day on your trip, it will be well worth it. Raul and the rest of the VIP beach staff will take care of you so well that you'll want to keep coming back, anyway.
Yes, the place is huge -- far bigger than I had imagined, or gleaned from the photos -- and yes, there are a TON of stairs, so it's not great if you're not fully mobile, but they have tried to do everything possible to rectify this situation with the use of golf carts and shuttles. Use them, if you need to -- I didn't, as I liked the exercise, but I could see why people would need it.
My only complaints with the facilities were:
1. my phone didn't work in my room, not even to call the front desk, so if I'd had an emergency, I'd have been out of luck. thankfully, after reporting it 3 times, someone fixed that situation.
2. there seems to be a sewer gas issue that was causing some seriously nasty stenches from my toilet -- I would jokingly blame the food but that wouldn't be true or fair, and I can't take the credit for that particular smell. (I was in Building 40 at Cofresi)
The food selection was excellent - there's something for everyone, although the vegetarian options could be expanded (my travel mate is vegetarian), but overall, I was pleased. I'm not one to travel "for the food" anyway, but it's great when it's not a concern. I really enjoyed the Casablanca buffet and Bellini restaurant menu the most. I did find it a bit odd that the seafood restaurant (Blue Lagoon) food quality was not as good as the seafood I had at the Italian restaurant (Bellini), but, c'est la vie!
For excursions, I highly recommend the Sosua snorkelling half-day tour and you MUST take in the Mega Extreme Adventure if you're physically able. The name is cheesy, but I promise you, it's accurate. I loved every moment. The guys that ran the tour were awesome!!
All in all, this was a fantastic vacation and for the first time in my life, I can truthfully say that I would actually go back! (I generally prefer to not visit the same place twice - it's a big big world)
Well done, Lifestyles!
- 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