We just stayed a week (during President's Week in February) at the Royal Suites (part of the "Tropical Hotel" in the Lifestyle Holiday Vacation Resort. We are interval international owners and traded our week for this stay. It was just three of us, my husband and I and our 1 year old daughter. Let me clarify now and say we were NOT VIP members and paid $40 per person (not for the baby) per day for the all inclusive plan. I'll explain further. If we wanted to upgrade to VIP it would cost us $180 a day...no way!!
Pros: The property is enormous with several different kinds of "lodging". There are regular hotel rooms (the Tropical), 1 bedroom suites (Royal Suites where we stayed) and then there are also free standing 5 bedroom villas/houses. The property is walkable, but certainly not handicapped equipped or baby friendly. There are tons of hills and stairs. The Royal Suites was nicely located with in a short distance to the beach and had its own pool right outside your room. The tropical (main hotel) had a great pool as well and was never crowded. Getting a chair in the morning was not a problem (which is nice especially during this popular week). The "beach" is manmade up above the regular beach. On this ONE ONLY beach we were "allowed" to go to since we were not VIP members it did get a little crowded and people stood on line for the beach to open at 8:00 AM to get one of their "beds". No lounges...think "SOUTH BEACH BEDS". The staff was always wonderfully welcoming, polite and accommodating.
Cons: The food was downright awful. They tell you there are 11 restaurants to feast from plus a daily buffet everyday...all true...all except ONE - Trapiche (Mexican) we were able to eat somewhat normally. Nothing had taste, and the meat tasted "gamey". We never tried the Italian (Bellini) because many others ate there and said it was bad. We also didn't try the Indian restaurant since we do not eat Indian food. When we checked in they had made about 5 reservations for us ahead of time. Good thing they did because the other 2 nights we were unable to make reservations anywhere. Lucky for us we ate early (6:30 PM) and could get in with out a reservation. The buffet was hit or miss. Same thing every morning for breakfast. Lunch was the better of the meals. They did have an ample amount of food and an incredible selection. The quality was what was lacking. If you are a VIP member you get top shelf liquor and apparently better restaurants. What people forget is that the food is all coming from the same "kitchen". We went to 2 VIP restaurants...and it was the SAME QUALITY!!
Problem #2 - WIFI...WIFI is only available ON THE BEACH??? You can pay $60 for the week to get it in your room or if you are a VIP it is free. It was so annoying to have to bring our phones/IPads to the beach just to check our e-mail.
Problem #3 - The room...It looks like they are trying to update the rooms, but ran out of money. The facade was nice...however the dresser had no knobs on the drawers (but had holes for them). The shower was large but the hot water was either scolding or cold. The worst was the main door knob. There is a normal regular door lever with an electric card reader...well that doesn't work...you have an actual key for a dead bold above it. That was how you come in and out of the room...the only security you have is this one dead bolt to both keep the door closed and to lock the room. Very unsafe. And finally the sliding glass doors out to the patio - the actual glass was separating from the frame...and we were under and mango tree with millions of mosquitos...many bug bites later...the doors need to be replaced. The bed was horrible. Every bone in our bodies ached. If you wanted a safe key for the in room safe...you had to pay for it at the front desk $20. They transferred us for free from the airport to them when we arrived. However, to go back it cost us $50 CASH to get a taxi back to the airport.
Problem #4: Timeshare sales pitch. We had NO intentions of ever buying here. They have these "sharks" pull you from the buffet during breakfast and lunch to bring you down to the "VIP WORLD" to meet with a salesperson. We let them know that before we sat down. My daughter was taking a nap when we went in the stroller and my husband was rocking her. The salesperson asked me to "give him the respect of 2 minutes to listen to his deal". He did everything he could to "woo" me and steal me away from interval international. They're big pitch is that they do not charge maintenance fees and you can come and stay there for as many weeks as you want. Funny because they'll charge you $270 per week though when you do book it...so that's where they make up the maintenance fees. Plus then you pay $80 per person per day for the all inclusive.
Bottom line is - if it sounds too good to be true - it probably is. You're buying a property in the Dominican Republic ...let's be real...it doesn't hold a great amount of value or have high trade availability. You buy and own in Aruba...that's a whole other board game. Not to be rude or snobby...just the truth. There are a TON of retirees down there that own and rant and rave about it. Good for them. I knock it up to the fact that we have higher standards (we're Marriott owners) and for us, this wasn't our cup of tea. I don't know how they stay down there for a month at a time and just keep eating that same food.
Back to the sale pitch...after repeatedly telling the salesman as nicely as I could - we were not interested...he started to fight with my husband and tell him that he was "rude" for not sitting at the table and listening (instead he was off to the side rocking our daughter in the stroller). He got very nasty and annoyed and then finally stood up and ushered us out. I could not believe the way he behaved our treated us. Interval International will be hearing about this and I am highly recommending that they take this resort off their list. What ever happened to respecting people's wishes. Maybe we couldn't afford it. Non of their business. The best part is, when you sit down with them, they offer you a drink with their "top shelf" liquor...get you boozed up and drunk so you don't know what you're listening too and get sucked right in.
Make what you want from this review...but it is all honest. We are just a regular average NY family trying to travel during February Winter break to somewhere warm. I got home and got sick with a stomach bug that night. Other travelers we met had the same thing while they were still there. I never drank the water...don't know what happened but it's not uncommon at all to get sick from the food or water down there. Good luck. I think this is a normal experience to anywhere in the Dominican Republic.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Royal Suites of Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort are located just a half block from the golden sands and the sparkling silvery hues of Cofresi Beach and offers spacious deluxe and standard one and two bedroom suites in a lush and tropical surrounding. Nestled inside the world-class Lifestyles Resorts, Royal Suites features six low rise modern Mediterranean-style buildings surrounding a beautiful pool. The resort provides a first class, five-star vacation experience. In addition to the Royal Suites swimming pool and tennis courts, our guests will enjoy other resort swimming pools, multiple pool bars and restaurants, a fully equipped gym, a relaxing spa, a kid’s club and multiple beach clubs. Whether you come to eat well, shop, enjoy excursions or you just want to completely relax and enjoy our Caribbean beaches, your stay at the Royal Suites of Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort will be the vacation that you have always dreamed of. ... more less
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