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“Carolyn F. " Tropical paradise, great food, great entertainers from the nightly shows and wonderful Dominican people".”

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The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
Ranked #11 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Reviewed June 21, 2013

We had a great time. The grounds are full of colorful flowers. The people who work at the Casablanca are wonderful, especially Bruno, he was so helpful in getting me help when I forgot my PILLS! So, I really appreciated that. In the mornings I really enjoyed a pool exercise program that your resort provided. I've never met such talented men instructors. They made my day with their great workout and their comedic personalities. They personally interacted with each and everyone of the women there no matter how old or fat we were, and I thought that was so professional and kind. I wish we had a John Cena and Michael Jordan back here in Pa. I'd be body beautiful!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Carolyn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 20, 2013

If you're looking for any holiday that involves honesty, good food, peace, or relaxation, I implore you not to visit this resort. If you're after a Spring-break-style time-share resort, being treated like second-class citizens, harassment by touts continuously trying to sell you activities/time-shares/tat, and terrible food day-on-day then this might be your own personal nirvana.

So, let's start with the good stuff (it won't take long). It's pretty here. Not jaw-dropping, speechless, propose-on-the-beach-at-sunset pretty, but, you know, it's better than sitting in the office. The beach is NOT white. It's yellow. And has a lot of seaweed. But, ignoring that, and all of the touts trying to sell stuff, it's nice. Palm trees, blue ocean, that kind of thing. The resort tries to tell you that VIP access gets you access to special parts of the beach, but that's not the case; it gets you access to certain areas of the hotel leading onto the beach. But if it's sand you're after, it doesn't make any difference if you were up-sold based on the promise of wondrous extras and a lifestyle of the rich and famous. The grounds are nice, too. And the rooms are functional, relatively clean, comfortable. No major complaints here. That said, I thought that I was too old to stay somewhere that doesn't change your bed linen at least every couple of days (especially one that sells itself on providing a certain "lifestyle"), and it's the first time my room has been fumigated during my stay, but hey, maybe lower expectations would serve me well. They certainly improved this resort no end.

I'm not sure where to begin on the rest of it. So, the beginning seems as good a place as any. At the main reception for check-in there was music blaring and people dressed up in costumes dancing either side of the doorway. Not dressed up in traditional Caribbean clothes or anything that might make you feel like it's remotely cultural. No. Dressed up in silver clothes that could only be likened to Kanye West going into space. And it was really, really loud. Reserved, tranquil, or classy, do not feature in the Lifestyle dictionary.

Upon check-in, we promptly had bright bands placed on our wrists which, we were told, must remain on our wrists for the entire week. Now, I understand that a resort based on the premise of up-selling to you because you can't get into nearly all of the bars/restaurants/areas of the beach thereby encouraging you to pay more to upgrade does need a way to differentiate the riff-raff from their more discerning customers, but those of us who wanted to leave the resort, really shouldn't have had to remain branded the whole time.

At check-in, we were also given two restaurant reservations: one for five days after we arrived (at the same time as the famed VIP party) and one for six days after we arrived (which we weren't able to attend because we already had plans outside the resort, god forbid). To be honest, it seems to me that I should have a say on the kind of food I want to eat and when, on my own holiday. But no, apparently not. It turns out that there are only a couple of restaurants that you don't need a reservation for, and the others we actually COULDN'T get reservations for. They give you your two and that's your lot. Every day from 9am to 10am you can queue up to get your name on a wait-list in case someone cancels one of the reservations that they were given without consultation (we tried, and never once got another reservation). So, of the impressive-list-of-restaurants-with-international-cuisine, most of them are inaccessible despite being touted as available to everyone. This meant that for almost an entire week, we had two restaurants of "international cuisine" available to us for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; quite different from the 11 advertised (everywhere) as being available to all guests. Most of those 11 also aren't open for breakfast or lunch, so at those times the other two appeared under siege from a plague of very fat locusts. There weren't enough plates, or glasses, or cups, or silverware. Tables were left uncleared for upwards of 15-20 minutes, though the birds seemed to appreciate that. "Cuisine", for the most part, is a somewhat misleading description, as it implies a certain level of sophistication. Frankly, the food's just bad. Edible, but only because you haven't got much choice. After 3 days of eating here, my stomach began to turn merely at the thought.

So, after check in, we went to our hotel room and switched on the wi-fi. We're both professionals with the kinds of jobs you can't just switch-off from for a week. However, the price for internet access is $60 PER DEVICE for a week! So, with two of us needing our blackberries and our computers, that'd work out at 240 USD just to get online? Ridiculous. (We also tried the hotspot thing: it doesn't work. For a hotel that's so technologically backwards you have to walk to the business center and pay in cash before you can get online, they seem to have their IT security locked down nicely.)

The bathroom was fine. The shower looks good but has a serious design flaw: there's no proper step or seal so you have to keep a towel across it on the floor to prevent flooding of the bathroom. That said, if you have it pointed downwards straight into the drain, it works great! My boyfriend was very clean from his knees down the whole time we were there. We also had to ask for our toiletries to be replaced, though that could just have been an accident, and, anyway, whatever they're using isn't worth the effort of unscrewing the top. Each day, they take your towels in the morning and don't replace them until later in the afternoon, so don't plan on getting smelly in the meantime without being willing to air-dry on the balcony. Also, make sure you keep your face clean: our face cloth wasn't changed for the entire week. The fridge comes stocked with a couple of bottles of water, 7-up, Pepsi, and a couple of beers. Remember to leave money in it every day or that's your lot.

To go to the pools you need to get your towel using a card they give you. Just the one card (equivalent to just the one towel), and you better not lose it or you have to pay 20 USD to replace it. Seriously? These are not theft-worthy towels, but surely a hotel can build in the loss of the odd towel into their overheads? Anyway, you have to return the towels by 6.30pm otherwise you get a fine (which is added onto your bill at the end of your stay). The pools don't shut until later than that, but you can easily drip-dry, and it's less hot in the evenings so you shouldn't sweat too much over the loungers.

It's been literally 20 years since I've had to get up at sunrise to put my (one) towel on a sun-lounger to mark it as mine for the rest of the day, and I thought this was a phenomenon limited to Europe. This, of course, limits the utility of having 14 pools (theoretically) available. We spent a lot of time lying on the grass. At night, however, there are some nice beach-side beds and hammocks, which is a nice way to spend some quiet(er) time away from the noise of the resort.

There's loud music BLARING everywhere (we found ear plugs helped enormously). You'll be really, really happy that the alcohol is free. Seriously, being drunk (and low expectations) does make being at this place a far more tolerable experience, though I do note the irony.

I do feel like I should give some attention to the other guests. If loud, fat, drunk, tattooed smokers who bring their own plastic goblets with "The King" in glittering letters on the side are the kind of lifestyle you're looking for, this is your place.

Throughout the trip (inside and outside the resort) we were harassed by men trying to sell things. After breakfast the day after you arrive, you'll get harassed by guys very forcefully telling you that they need to give you a tour. Luckily, because you'll have lost your manners in the preceding feeding frenzy, you should have no problem telling them to [--] (or, at least, manage to say no). This is by no means a Lifestyle-only problem but one that we found severely impacted our trip. It was much worse outside of the resort, where they would run up one after another; several in the spaces of a couple of minutes, trying to sell you drinks, trinkets, or activities. At every traffic light (of many) they would come up and clean the car windscreen before demanding money. The first one that we tipped also told us that we didn't give him enough money and that he wanted more. After that, we just kept the windows up.

On Sunday night, they have a welcome party. It's chaotic. The food is better than the buffet, but there's a whole resort of people vying for it. After securing a table, getting drinks, finding someone to light the candle, and then getting our food, we returned to find another couple sat at our table eating their dinner (with no intention of moving) so we had to repeat the process. Frustrating. After 5 days in the resort, there was a VIP party. We didn't attend (we'd have left much earlier if we weren't from Boston and if we hadn't been here when the marathon bombing occurred). Instead, we hung out on the beach in a hammock for a few hours because the music was so loud in our room we didn't even attempt to sleep there. It was actually one of the most memorable evenings of our trip, because everyone else was at the party, leaving the rest of the resort empty and really quite lovely.

The over-arching theme of the place is the "haves and have nots", with the resort trying to up-sell VIP access to the many inaccessible areas of the resort to the peasants. So, for example, with the restaurants, the single reservation-requiring restaurant we had access to wasn't great but was definitely an improvement on the buffet. Walking around, however, it was constantly clear that the majority of restaurants were at least half empty, leading us to the suspicion that they were simply cost-saving on the people who hadn't paid premium rates, so that those of us on super cheap deals were never going to get into these places. When we phoned to ask about the status of reservation requests, we were transferred to a number that was never answered. We had the same suspicion with the beach chairs. There were never enough, yet the hotel must know year-on-year the numbers of guests they expect. I don't know if this was another a ploy to make us think about how much better it would be if we had access to the "upscale" areas of the resort. My boyfriend and I spent some time contemplating the theoretical horror of someone giving us a timeshare here as a gift; I can't begin to imagine why, when there are so many awesome places in the world, anyone would want to put any of their hard-earned cash into returning here even once.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Emma J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

15 of us stayed for a week and I don't think any of us were ready to come home. Much like any place, there are downfalls but for the price, why complain about anything? I'm pretty sure each and every one of those workers worked their tails off from sunrise to sunset. There is always something to do and there is always entertainment of some sort. I loved the VIP beach and the animation team. Chocochoco Puchi, Jhon Cena, Lenny Kravitz, Jhonny Bravo, and Michael Jordan were hilarious and great. Massages on the beach, the banana boat on the ocean, and the extreme excursion is a must do. Gina, the bartender in the lobby is the best! The VIP party was an amazing time. I want to come back but Chocochoco no longer works there and he was a big part of what made our stay great!

Room Tip: 3105 was in a good location and in a great room!
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Stacy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

Went on a girls getaway with my friends and we had an amazing time. The staff makes this resort what it is, they're so friendly and welcoming. John Wayne was amazing and his passion for penguins, and of course everyone working at the resort made us want to book another vacation with them. The prices are unbeatable and we definitely didnt just tell it to our best friends only.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank md6117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

Stayed for a week.. went by too quickly as there was something to do and keep busy throughout the day and night. The service was incredible and the people are amazing and very welcoming. The staff finds ways to accommodate all your needs. Booked the horse back riding excursion with John Wayne and it was great! Our guide Miguel was amazing as well! Live shows every night with different themes kept things fun and entertaining. The food at the main buffet was not so bad... every night was different and there was definitely a lot of variety to choose from. The central air isn't as strong as it should be but this is a general problem throughout the resort... just keep it on throughout your stay with your drapes closed and the room will stay cool. Definitely would go back again... overall great experience and wished we stayed longer....no regrets ;)

Room Tip: Building number 6... ground level... quiet throughout the day and night.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank vvm6117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

John Cina...before I begin the review of this resort, I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on what a phenomenal asset John Cena is to this resort! Besides being a great and fun water aerobics instructor, I also found him to be a really down to earth and kind person in general, always stopping to chat and making people feel welcome, whether it be at the special events in the evening, or just hanging around the pool.

Resort...it was overall a positive experience, once we finally made it to the resort. I would not recommend purchasing transportation through Cheap Carribean, as we sat in a van at the airport for 45 minutes waiting for others (most of whom never showed up) to board before we could leave. Once at the resort, the check-in process went great! We stayed in Building 1; great location, but we had no water on our first full day. After making several calls, the water came through and while mostly cold, it was just fine.

Food...I've read favorable reviews - and some not so much - regarding the food, but we were overall happy with it. We ate in the Mexican, Asian, Italian and Blue Lagoon resturants, and all were great! Buffet highlights for me included the smoothies in the morning (papaya & pinapple, no sugar - yummy!), pizza and made to order pasta at lunch; this could explain the 6# I gained :)

Features...VIP Beach was our favorite resort feature (next to the aforementioned Mr. John Cena, of course). Get in line early (7:15 AM) if you want to nab one of the canopy beds (tree house is awesome!). Drinks are better at this beach, and bottled water and lunch service are nice features as well.

Entertainment...our favorite night by far was the World VIP Party, which was held at the resort, and not at Ocean World; it was a great time!!! Eat dinner at the resort first, and if you really want to have fun immersed in foam, don't wear something supper nice. The Bravissimo show was good, as was the poolside entertainment that followed. Unfortunately, the Sunday Night Welcome Party was cancelled due to rain, understandable, but so disappointing.

Excursions...we booked the City Tour & Ocean World through Cheap Carribean before arriving, which I wouldn't do again. The City Tour was well worth the $$, and we were definitely glad that we went in the morning vs the afternoon. Cable ride was great, as was the stop at Brugal (pay the $2.00 for a Passion Fruit & Rum Slushy!). We could have done without the stop at the Amber Museum, and after a couple of surprise stops to an orphanage & cigar shop (fun:), we were worn out by the time we made our final stop of the day, San Felipe. Ocean World was expensive and not worth the $$; we ended up walking back to the resort after a couple of hours. The shows were entertaining, especially the shark show, but the snorkling was a joke. We had read about the waterfalls, so we rented a car ($99.00 for 24 hours inc. insurance) and drove ourselves. It cost us $9.00 to get in and $2.00 for shoe rental. We did 12 waterfalls and it was awesome!!! I think one can also take a cab for $80.00 round trip. Both are better options than booking it through Cheap Carribean, who charge $70.00 per person. That said, I think the combined tour of the Zip Line (also an awesome place!), Waterfalls & Horseback Riding is a pretty good deal at around $120.00.

Snorkeling...we brought our own equipment, but saw just a handful of fish on the far right side of the beach along the rocks. We heard Sosua has a great beach, so if one rented a car for the waterfalls, they could also go there.

My final tip is to be sure to bring suntan lotion with you, and not wait to purchase it at the resort, as they charge anywhere from $22.00-$30.00 for an 8oz. tube!

Overall, we had a really great time and the Dominicanos were beautiful people, inside and out.

Room Tip: I heard that Building 5 is really good.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Banjosmama1011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Booked a week long trip for the price it was great. The rooms were clean and spacious. The food was good as well....went to the Mexican and seafood restaurant which were great. But the best part of the trip were the night shows. Pucci, Michael Jordan and John Cena kept us entertainted each night. As well as in the day time at the pool. They were funny and always had us smiling!

  • Stayed: June 2013
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3  Thank ym5
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 57000, Dominican Republic (Formerly Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#9 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: $92 - $274 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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