We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The Tropical at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
Show Prices
Like saving money? We search up to 200 sites for the lowest prices
Nearby Hotels
View Hotel
  • Free Parking
  • Pool
Heavens Coral(Puerto Plata)
View Hotel
View Hotel
  • Pool
  • Restaurant
View Hotel
  • Pool
  • Beachfront
View Hotel
ClubHotel Riu Mambo(Puerto Plata)
View Hotel
View Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
  • Free Parking
  • Pool
View Hotel
  • Pool
  • Restaurant
Reviews (4,910)
Filter reviews
4,910 results
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
LanguageAll languages
More languages
Show reviews that mention
All reviewsvip beachjulio the rockgeorge of the jungleblue lagoonwelcome partythrough cheapcaribbeanocean worldsushi barcasa blancasalamicasablanca buffetwater aerobicsdominican republicbeach bedsvip areasserenity beachthese guys
FilterAll languages
Updating list...
4,436 - 4,441 of 4,910 reviews
Reviewed October 25, 2004

My wife and I stayed at the Hacienda Tropical, 19th September until the 4th October 2004.
This was just after Hurricane Jeanne, a day after !! And many others that had been before it so they had taken a good battering during the previous months, consequently over 1000 people were killed in Haiti as a result of the Hurricanes.
I have read all these bad reviews and can only say I am astounded at what people say and the bad comments they had to make about the Hotel and the staff.
It seems that these folks paid for a 3 star Hotel and wanted 5 star service ?

I completely agree with the comments from the other reviewer “its what you make it”
As for these other stick in the mud’s all I can say is “get a life”.

Anyhow this is my review I hope it helps you make up your mind in general and you go and have a great holiday.

From the moment we arrived at the airport First Choice made it easy we collected our bags and then were escorted to a waiting bus which took us to the Hacienda Tropical, our bags unloaded and placed in the hotel reception while we booked in, this was all very painless and hassle free.
Once booked in the bell boys escorted you to your room showed you all you needed to know and bid you farewell with a genuine smile, while no tip was asked for I was so impressed I gave him one anyhow.
Our room a standard on the second floor, had two queens sized beds, T.V. fridge, which had bottled water in it already, a bathroom with shower sink and all the usual, plus air con which worked all the time we were at the hotel.
There was a sliding door leading to the balcony which overlooked one of the pools and gardens, at this point I have to say the largest pool was having a complete overhaul, we had been informed about this before we went by the holiday company, so no surprises that the weather had set things back a bit.
To say we were impressed is an understatement but we remained open minded until the holiday was over, bearing in mind that we had read all these overbearing negative reviews before we had gone.
Let me state that my wife and I are in our 40’s and not party animals and not blind rich, I had got the holiday on a TV travel programme, but in saying that we would not accept shabby service anywhere.

The service in all the time we spent at the Hotel was second to none the staff were always genuine, helpful and had a smile for everyone.
I reported the shower head was broken and it was fixed the same day !
I asked for a light bulb for the bed side lamp it took 3 days but came with apologies, we had other lights in the room and a candle so it was no hardship.
The hot water in the shower varied but cold was never cold and when I learnt how much the maid got paid (not much) I left a dollar tip every day, but the room was always spotlessly clean before this anyhow with the bed made every day, clean towels when asked for and water in the fridge without asking.
As for the food all I can say is some of these folks must have eaten in a different Hotel, because I never had a bad meal while I was on holiday within the hotel.
Granted the milk is always heated for drinks coffee / tea etc, and some times even though its kept on ice in jugs its warm for cereal, but there are so many other things to eat in the various meals its hardly worth moaning about.
The Italian Restaurant- the food is excellent we enjoyed it more than any other the staff were great and made it a pleasure to eat there.

The Chinese Restaurant- (which was relocated to the Blue Marlin due to the Chinese roof being damaged in the hurricane, they did alternate nights) was also excellent not your normal take away here I can tell you !!

The Blue Marlin- ok the steak was a bit tough but hey beef is not the national dish, ask for a fish dish instead !!

The Garden Room - had reopened just before we left, we went on the first night, so chaos was in full swing the food was good, but the staff seemed lost and as we were on the top floor the smoke from the griddle was annoying, but we still enjoyed it.

The Main Restaurant - always had a vast array of food choices and if you wanted any freshly cooked meat you can think of the staff were friendly helpful and always chatted and smiled, water was topped up frequently and wine also we never asked for anything as we were so well waited on in all the restaurants.

Do some TRIPS- The Outback Safari was great, the guides a bunch of waffling comedians, funny with that idiotic streak, but enjoy it you really will, I never heard any complaints ?

White Water Rafting- this is excellent, although the coach trip is a bit long and tiring we had the most wicked time a must for those with an adventurous streak, but you must be able to swim, every muscle in our bodies ached next day, training shoes and loadsa suntan lotion a must ohhhhh and a water proof camera. Its suitable for beginners too.

Ocean World- expensive trip just down the road from the hotel. but if you want to swim with dolphins then this is the place, its something I have wanted to do for years, and although it stretched the budget a bit I’m glad we did it, a whole day with food, a snorkel reef which you can swim around and sea lions which cost extra, also the shark swim costs extra too.
We stuck to dolphins and snorkel reef which was included in the price of our ticket.
It was here that we think we picked up our only dodgy food and suffered from upset stomachs the next day.!! But it could have been the amount of water swallowed while swimming with the Dolphins, an unavoidable hazard.

Horse Riding- A cheap and most enjoyable morning, cheaper if you find the guy who wanders around the beach with the clip board, the rides in the hills are great the guides funny and informative, I had last ridden when I was a nipper so it was an experience for me a good one I’ve got to say.

Bearing in mind that there had been a hurricane just before we had got there the Hotel grounds were spotless and the ground men and ladies worked hard to keep them that way. The beach was cleaned by a tractor rake every other night to get rid of the debris that had floated in and all in all I enjoyed the time we spent on it.

Here we go the annoying bit, Time share REPS, yep they are all over the place but we went with one out of interest and found out how the other half live, but if you tell then to go away and your not interested they get the message and very rarely bother you again. (the villas our what dreams are made of !!)

The pools were always clean, the entertainers get stuck in a groove they repeat the same waffle day in and day out, but there job is to get you going its what they are paid to do, the music gets repeated, unless you offer them a different c.d to play but I cant say it spoilt my stay at all.

My one and only moan really was the poor state of the water sports gear, the boogie boards are falling apart, the kayaks are tatty with no pull cord to drag them in and out of the water,, they also leak, the staff are the most unhelpful in the Hotel and rude with it, it was the only complaint I made in the whole holiday !!

There is an internet café, $2.00 for 20mins, the connection is slow but hey it’s the Dominican Republic.

You can get phone cards off your Rep, around $15 for 15mins, with 30 peso’s connection charge from your room, if you mobile phone plays up, it happens a lot out there, no signals.

The weather was great considering it was out of season, it only rained twice , the last time just before we left and it lasted 5 hours or more.

The Entertainment in the theatre is every night with different shows involving dancing etc go at least once its very enjoyable.

Motorised water sports at your own risk, jet ski’s near the beach $45 for 20 mins. offer them a free all inclusive beer you may get it cheaper.

Always barter for everything you buy or hire it always pays dividends.

Our Holiday Rep was always helpful although sometimes hard to find and a bit dizzy. (sorry Martine)

All in all it was an excellent Holiday I would go again tomorrow if I had a choice, yes there was a local element at the weekend who brought there families on a B&B basis, but the Hotel was just doing business as any hotel would, they were no noisier than all the bar flies that stayed up drinking all night, some still at it next morning, but hey their on holiday.

The only restaurant I didn’t mention was the snack bar by the beach near the 24 hour bounty bar, it cooks all things fresh. Burgers hot dogs ..and fries with yummy fresh nacho’s all the kids I saw were well chuffed.

Anyhow go its worth it, forget all these negative reviews keep an open mind and enjoy it, its 3 star, not 5 star, if you want that 5 star service go somewhere else.

21  Thank THE HOLIDAY2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2004

Spent two weeks at this resort in the main 'Tropical' part (14/03/04 to 28/03/04). Totally agree with the previous reviewer from London although I think he was mild in his description of this place. The hotel has been taken over by American hotel group Ramada (last year?) and is in urgent need of total refurbishment. We stayed in the 'better' part of the hotel. Apparently Ramada have made ‘great improvements’ (obviously on a $500 budget) to this hotel since taking it over. I really would have hated to have seen it before ...

Reception area/hotel grounds
The reception areas are OK and the grounds are well maintained and the gardeners work hard. However, this is where the praise ends. The hotel is, in our opinion, a potential death trap and it would not surprise me if someone has a fatal accident there. We lost count of the number of guests we saw falling over on the slippery surfaces (totally unsuitable for a beach resort) and we saw a lot of guests on crutches and with their ankles strapped. My boyfriend slipped in our room and bruised his shin. The surfaces around the resort are in a terrible condition - chipped and raised. We even saw a pool of blood by one of the swimming pools! We spent the entire holiday carefully picking our way around the resort as we were scared of falling over. They also had maintenance staff painting various areas but not bothering to put up wet paint signs - cue hands in paint etc.! We saw more paint on the floor than anywhere else.


Very, very basic. We stayed in the 5000 block on the first floor and we had to have our mattress changed as it was damp, lumpy, smelly and stained! It looked like someone had died on it and had been left to rot there for a couple of weeks. The mattresses must be at least 20 years old. The pillows are terrible too – small, hard, smelly and lumpy. The throw on the bed had paint on it! The sheets were also too small for the bed and so you ended up with them strangling you in the middle of the night. Did not have one decent night's sleep the entire holiday.
The wardrobes did not shut properly and had mismatched door knobs on them. An attempt had been made to tart them up and they had been painted inside and out very badly. The other bedroom furniture (black!) was also old and shabby and the drawer in my bedside unit was broken. The patio doors were filthy with finger marks and smudges all over them There was a fridge in the room - old , noisy and dirty which had two bottles of beer, two bottles of water, a bottle of Pepsi and a bottle of 7UP when we arrived but this was never restocked. You had to ask to get fresh bottles of water.
The towels were thin and shabby with holes in them. The shower head was loose and did not stay in the upright position unless forced completely back into a 90 degrees position. We had no hot water for the whole two weeks but did manage a tepid shower a couple of nights when we showered before 6:00pm. When we mentioned the lack of hot water to reception we were fobbed off. We were told by other guests not to bother as hot water was a novelty and mostly there was none! There was no ceiling fan (as stated there would be in the First Choice brochure) and the air conditioning was antiquated. Thankfully we did not get a ground floor room as we noted that water seeped out of these onto the corridor due to the air conditioning units. People we spoke to who were in these rooms told us they had to put towels down constantly to mop the water up (this was the hotel's idea!!).


Very bland, cold, undercooked, repetitive. We are not fussy eaters but this is the only holiday we have been on where we have not put on weight. Plates were cracked, chipped and often smudgy. Breakfast was OK. Fresh omelettes and smoothies. You need to make reservations for the speciality restaurants (Chinese, Italian and fish). The reservations are made between 8:00am and 10:00am. If you want a reservation, get in line at 7:30 and queue!! If you are not at the front of the queue you will not get in and the surly woman making the reservations will not let you book for the night before unless you suck up to her and slip her a couple of dollars. She will tell you that the restaurants are fully booked but you will walk past them during the night and see that they are not.
Do not bother with the fish restaurant - you have to pay a supplement for lobster ($20). Our advice – don’t give Ramada any more of your hard earned cash, walk down the beach for 5 minutes to Chris & Maddy's restaurant where you can get a great meal for two for £40 (with drinks). Everyone we met at the resort had someone in their party get a gippy tummy. For the past 5 years we have taken the same upset tummy remedies on holiday. This time we used them all within the first couple of days and we have cast iron stomachs. We lost count of the times we cut into meat and blood flowed out. Sometimes you could not even tell what sort of meat it was. More than often, we made do with a sandwich. Oh yes, and I got a cockroach crawling up my arm in the buffet restaurant during one of the many power outages!


The beach is public and is horrible. The sand is vile and the beach is filthy dirty. Take care to shower down when leaving the beach as the sand is heaving with sand mites and they will get into your clothes and your room and bite you to bits. We found broken glass from bottles several times whilst on the beach and witnessed locals smashing bottles against rocks and throwing them into the sea. There are rocks in the water so you cannot boogie board unless you want to rip your body to shreds. There are much nicer beaches on the north coast. The pools are cleaned every morning but we did see anyone taking any readings throughout the day. They always looked dirty and slimy. The surface on the bottom of the pools are rough and I took all the skin of my toes whilst having a game of water volley ball and had to hobble around with plasters on them after that.


There is a bar on the beach (just until 6:00pm), a bar by the pool, a bar in reception and a bar at the beach grill area (word of warning – avoid the toilets in this area - the female toilets had no doors and what you see on the seats in both male and female toilets - yuk!!!). The hygiene at these bars leaves a lot to be desired. Cleaning the glasses consisted of dunking them in and out of a bowel of dirty water and then rinsing them quickly under the cold tap. The entertainment team do try their hardest but it is the usual miming to tracks etc. If you have children, they will be bored. There is nothing for them at all. There is a disco (Hurricane) but you have to pay for drinks. Did not go so cannot comment on it.

If you do only one trip, make it the Outback Safari. Great day out and a percentage of what you pay goes to building new schools for the Dominican children.

We also went to Saona Island on the South side of the Island (where they filmed the Bounty ads). Beautiful island but it rained so the trip was ruined. Cost $224 each to go on this trip and we did try to cancel it the day before as we had looked on the internet and saw the weather forecast was not good for the south side of the island. Admittedly. it was unusual weather conditions in the north of the DR at the time (just before the terrible floods they had) but the rep who sold us the trip assured us that it never rained on the south side of the island and that although it was absolutely terrible weather on the north, it would be wonderful on the south despite what was showing on the internet weather report. Oh well, I suppose she got her commission and that’s all that counts (to the rep, anyway).

Electricity (or lack of)
After having really lovely weather for the first ten days the weather took a turn for the worse and we had three days of complete torrential downpours. It was raining like we had never seen rain before. Anyway, the electricity went off for 48 hours and we had no water for 12 hours. Guests were filling up their waste paper bins with rain water to flush the toilet. We even saw the kitchen staff filling up the silver trays the food was served in with water from the pools! There is no back up generator which is just unacceptable. Everywhere else has one, why not here? No explanation was given to us as to why there was no electricity although prior to this we all received letters under our doors to say that they were updating the generator. We were then told the generator had flooded and they were awaiting a new one. Well, when we left there was still no electricity. There was no sign of a manager to complain too. When we asked to speak to the manager we were met with blank faces and told to speak to the surly reservation booking lady!!! Eh???? First Choice/Signature had to draft in an extra rep to assist with the complaints. There were no complaint forms so everyone wrote out their complaints twice and got the rep to sign off one copy. First Choice/ Signature even sent someone over with money to compensate us for the lack of electricity for two days ($100 each). Many people who had not long arrived got to be moved. Luckily, we were leaving. We were so desperate to get out we didn’t bother waiting for the transfer bus and took a taxi. So we left the holiday from hell hungry (as there was no food that morning due to no electricity) and a bit grubby (as there was no hot water to wash) but happy to be out of there.

This hotel is in urgent need of a complete makeover. Ramada need to shut it down and do the work required properly and not just paper over the cracks and hope for the best. First Choice should ditch this hotel now if they want to maintain their reputation. If you are not a fussy eater, do not mind roughing it and are quite happy sitting around doing nothing, then this hotel will probably suit you. They also need to have more English speaking staff on reception and get some proper management in there. This place is in the dark ages and our assessment of a holiday is to ask "would you go back?" and "would you recommend it?". Well the answers are NO and NO. Never before have we been happy to see the end of a holiday and go home. There are much better hotels of the same star rating in the area than this one (e.g. Casa Marina Reef) so don’t waste your money. If you have booked this hotel, try and get your agent to change it. If you cannot change and have any problems when you get there, dig your heels in and demand to be moved. We wrote to First Choice as soon as we returned to the UK and they have given us compensation. We only wish we had a video camera with us since this would be a sure contender for ITV’s Holidays from Hell. Oh well, we're off to Cuba now (with video camera, just in case!)

  • Stayed: January 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank Prinny2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2004

Got back a few days ago from a two week stay at the Hacienda Tropical. Having read mixed reviews on this site I wasn't really sure what to expect. As I said above - the hotel is as good as you make it! There are aspects of this place that are fantastic and some are bad but everyone has there own opinion.

Here is mine: When you pull up in the coach you don't really get an idea of just how big the whole complex is. It is divded into several parts including the Hacienda Gardens and Hacienda suites. You get a map of the complex in you room - take it with you and have a good wander around to get your bearings. You soon get to know where everything is.
Our room to be honest was fairly basic - and could have been cleaner - but we didn't go there to spend all our time in the room. The Buffet restaraunt is very nice - with like a "thatched" palm tree roof with open sides. The food did get a bit repetitive - but you have the option of booking the A la carte places - The Chinese and Italian are both very good.

The Pools were all really good - despite having maintenence work being carried out during our stay. Go and see Pedro at the swim up bar!

The Beach was also really good - although the sea could be quite choppy! Lots of Palm trees - but watch out for the ants as some of them nip!

The bad bits of this hotel: 1) Timeshare salesmen. These were a bit of a pain at first. They dress in Yellow polo shirts with the Hacienda logo on the chest. They like to hang around the path between the buffet restarunt and the Cana (pool) bar and on the front of the raised beach section.
They like to pounce on the people with no tans - as it is a sign that you are new to the hotel an are not aware of what they are selling. Tatics include "Come and get your welcome gift" & "We have resort info for you". The best way to deal with these people is to say "no thanks" from the very outset. If you do go with them they apparently waste 3 hours of your precious holiday trying to flog you timeshare - they are persistent but DONT LISTEN TO THEM! They do get the message in the end.

2) The Entertainment: you make your own mind up about these nutters. For the first couple of days they were quite funny. Then they got a bit too much. There is a bloke called Chicken Legs who really began to get on our nerves. Every sentence spoken included a stupid duck impression. When you meet him you will get what I mean. They also like to make a lot of noise around the bigger pool. this did get a bit much but there is a smaller quieter pool to escape to.

The Bars are all really good. Go to the bounty bar in the evening and ask a bloke called Edi for a Mamajana. Its a really good drink if you like shooters. Its known as Dominican Viagra!

Do some excursions: Ocean world is walkable along the beach - literally under 10 mins but the organised trip worked out cheaper. The Dolphins were really cool! We also did the Monster Truck Safari - a day we will never forget - Fantastic!

IMPORTANT: If you vist this hotel you CANNOT afford to miss a visit to the Damajagua Waterfalls. We went by Taxi (approx $45USD in total for a 25min journey each way and the driver waits for you there). The guides worked for tips. You pay them according to how much fun you have! It is essential to take shoes that can get wet. DO NOT MISS THIS EXPERIENCE IT IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!

You will have as much fun at this hotel as you want to have. The Holiday was such a bargain you don't mind the bad points. Use it as a base and enjoy the rum! The good bits really do outway the bad because we still had a fantastic time!

25  Thank gpt197
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed October 12, 2004

This is my complaint to my holiday company

do not listen to any reveiws that this hotel is good, i was transfured to another hotel that was also advertised a 4star and it was 100 times better than this shat hole

The biggest factor that came to our attention was the food. Firstly the food was cold, even though they were on hot plates these were not on, or at a very low temperature. This immediately worried me as being keep at this temperature provides the ideal environment for bacteria to breed. In addition to this the food was covered in flys and ants because there was no protection against this and birds were flying around and defecating on the food. The food was also set out on the buffet up to one and a half hours before the restaurant opened After witnessing this, we decided to stick to pasta as it was freshly cooked, saying this the water that it was cooked in looked like it hadn’t been changed for a week. So all in all we managed a couple of mouthfuls of fruit as we could not risk any other food. We also experienced the same problem with all the restaurants. On the second day both myself and my partner were seriously ill, vomiting and had diohreor. This continued for the period we stayed at the hotel. We ended up having to purchase packets of crisps at over £4 a packet because there was nothing else we could eat. There were various other problems with food (Burgers not cooked pink inside) and water ( a sealed bottle of water that I drank from contain salt) i will not detail at this point as it may be required for these to be tested.

Despite unlimited local drinks being advertised, on more than a couple of times on our stay, this was not available to us. The hotel was not able to for fill this, for which we have signed documentation stating this.

Hotel (General)
In our room the curtain was broken and falling off the wall, there were tiles missing from the balcony, there were exposed wire hanging from a open plug socket, there was exposed wires and a hole in the wall by the bed lamingp, the fridge was rusty, the toilet paper holder was falling of the wall, ceiling lights were hanging out, there were large cracks in the wall, room looked like it was painted by a 5 year old (there was paint splashed on all handles lights floor) and lots of other problem that I don’t need to describe as I am sure you can see this is not acceptable. Around the complex was even worse.
Around the swimming pool there were lights that were broken, uncovered with wires exposed. This not acceptable, due to the danger involving live electricity and water.

We also experienced a big problem with bugs around the hotel and in our room. We did not experience this at the second hotel.
With this being a problem to us we were even more concerned when we found a dog swimming in the pool! It was only when we went to complain that the dog was removed from the premises. I believe that the dog with its owners who were from the villa complex.
We were also quite annoyed that we were surrounded by a few local dogs with no collars within the complex.

Throughout our stay the majority of the staff were very rude towards us. They were not at all helpful and when they said that they would do something it either wasn’t done or took constant requests until they did. They also gave conflicting information to us and lied on a number of occasions. To give an example on one of the occasions that we wanted to complain and asked to use the phone, we were told that the phone lines were not working only to find when we went down to reception that they were using the phone and they had never not been working. The most disturbing action by staff that was witnessed was when 8 members of staff proceeded to walk through the pool area and destroying most of the sun shades by pushing them with so much force that they snapped they also pushed and pulled one of the signs by the pool until it broke.

1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2004

had a great time ..got sick one day i think from the roast beef gravy...the entertainment leaves a little to be desired...but all in all had a great time ...i loved the calzone from the italian restaurant...

2  Thank firbster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
View more reviews