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Best All Inclusive Deals
Without a doubt the best deals you are going to get on either the Cofresi Palm Resort or the Tropical Resort owned by Lifestyles is at cheapcaribbean.com. All deals that you purchase there automatically come as VIP, which is well worth the effort. If you subscribe to their newsletter you can frequently get deals like $25 per person per night and we have seen it go as low as $10 per person per night. Other deals come with airfare also.
Cofresi Resort Restaurants
Getting into the different restaurants offered by Lifestyle Resorts is a bit of a pain. If your stay is for 4 nights you will automatically get reservations in one of the restaurants, usually whichever one is the least booked. If you want to eat somewhere else you have to stand in line for about an hour or so to see if you can get something open. The services area only takes reservations at a particular time of the day (check when you get there this time seems to change). You will need to get in line about .5 to an hour before the reservations start in order to have any chance of getting the restaurant you want and even then there is very little chance of getting into the more popular ones like the seafood and Mexican food restaurants.
Don’t despair though, you will find plenty to eat. We usually like to spend most of our time at the beach or going around and not in lines so we usually just eat at the buffets. Now that the Cofresi Palm is attached to Lifestyles you have two different buffets to choose from the Pearl at Cofresi Palm and the Casa Blanca at Lifestyle Tropical. Both have their own advantages and I will be discussing the difference in my article “Lifestyles Topical vs Cofresi Resort”. In short, the food at booth locations is “good” quality but I definitely wouldn’t tag it as “Excellent”. There is a nice variety at both buffets and the food you get at each one is different so it is a nice change of pace to walk over to the other resort regardless of which resort you have booked rooms at.
Most of the rooms are in a typical hotel style building with very few of the rooms able to see the ocean. Most rooms have a balcony and as best I can tell all rooms come with a Jacuzzi Hot tub in the room. The rooms also come with air-conditioning (at least all the VIP rooms) as well as a small refrigerator stocked with water, soda and now only one beer (they used to put several in the fridge). The rooms are all new and in good repair.
Cofresi Swimming PoolsWhile it is nice to hang out at the breach and swim in the ocean, the pools make for a nice change. There are many small secluded pools located throughout the Cofresi Palm Resort, almost all have bars (included with the price) located nearby.
This is actually one of the nicest things about this resort. All the pools have lounge chairs many of them sitting in a foot or so of water on platforms at the side of the pool so you stay a little cooler. All the pools are decoratively shaped and there is even a set of waterfalls going from one set of pools to another on different levels (as seen in the pictures).
The pools are nicely landscaped in with tropical palms shading areas of the pool and lounging area. There are different pools that are perfect for families, adults only and also small children one even has a slide.
Cofresi Kids Area
While kids are permitted in all but one specific adult pool area, there are also areas specifically made with kids in mind with shallow swimming areas, kids approved umbrellas (a water fall mushroom) and a inside kids play area.
Cofresi VIP Lounge
One of the biggest disadvantages of the Cofresi Palm Resort is its lack of a VIP lounge on its grounds set aside for your “basic” VIP visitor. All of the better VIP lounges on this property are only available to the gold member VIPs. These are the ones that have bought into the timeshare part of the resort.
You can though head down to the VIP area of the Lifestyles Topical Resort. There are cool lounge beds available in the VIP area that is not available elsewhere, but the biggest advantage is the quality of the drinks. Whiskeys like Johnny Walker Red, Johnny Walker Black, and other imported mixable alcohols are only available in the VIP area. All the other bars stock only local and cheaper rum and other alcohol. The VIP area also has food (burgers, salad, chips and salsa) as well as a sushi bar.
Cofresi vs Tropical
Of the two resorts Cofresi and Tropical I found the Cofresi Resort to be a bit more sophisticated, and quieter, while the Tropical is more of a party location. During the evening the Cofresi offered live Spanish music at its main bar near the entrance (two guitars with one player also singing), while the Tropical is blasting party music.
The Cofresi also has a theater where live acts are performed right on the grounds. The Tropical also has a theater but you have to walk a ways down the street to get to it.
A few things to take into account health wise. First, do not drink the tap water, or even use it to wash your toothbrush, bottled water is provided for all drinking. Usually the ice will be fine so mixed drinks and drinks you get at the restaurants are usually fine.
Do not eat anything that does not appear to be fully cooked. Peiple get sick at these buffets all the time, you don’t want to be one of them. If it doesn’t appear to be cooked properly don’t take the chance. It is highly debatable if you should eat any of the salad items, if you can go a week or so without salad that might be best. Likely you would be fine, but this is one of the areas where mistakes are easily made in the kitchen and you could end up sick for part of your vacation. Fully cooked foods are always safest.
Cofresi Resort Review
Of all the bad reviews that I have read about the Tropical or Cofresi Resorts most of them boil down to the person having higher expectations than was delivered. Both resorts are on beautiful grounds, are located right on the beach, offer all the food and alcohol you want and the rooms are of good quality. If you are used to staying at high end 5 star resorts, these two may not reach your standards. However if your normal motel stay in the States is of the Motel 6, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Comfort Inn etc. both resorts are a very large step above.
You are in a developing country so expect the level of maintenance to be a little lower than you would find at many resorts found elsewhere. But the rooms are usually very clean and presentable and usually in pretty good repair.
The service at Cofresi Resort is very good and the help is very friendly. If you tip the bartender a little and treat them well, your service will improve even more. I usually like to leave a tip for the room cleaning person each day left on a small not saying “Por Limpiasa” or “for cleaning”, this lets them know they can take the money and gives them a little extra incentive to be sure you are taken care of if you need anything.
If you are looking for a low cost family vacation in the Dominican Republic the Lifestyle Cofresi Resort is a great deal. While it is often put as a 5 star resort I would probably put it closer to a 4 star, much higher quality than the hotel chains in the US but not quite up to the standards of the Top 5 start resorts that can be found in areas like Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.