Lifestyles Resorts

Lifestyles Resorts

So, you’re checking out the latest deals for lifestyle Resorts on and you are torn between booking at Lifestyles Cofresi Palms Resort or Lifestyles Tropical Resort in Puerto Plata? This is a tough choice if you haven’t been there before, but likely you will enjoy either one. Here is a few tips on which one to chose for your dream vacation to the Dominican Republic.

Both are great all inclusive resorts, sitting right next to each other with access to the same section of beach and the same restaurants, so does it make a difference which motel you book at? Yes, each resort has its own feel, while you can cross from one to the other freely there are advantages to booking your vacation in one resort or the other.

VIP Beach Access

One advantage to the Lifestyle Tropical Resort is it is closer to the VIP beach. You can get to the beach in 5 minutes or less from any of the rooms, you have about a 10-15 minute walk from the Cofresi rooms. The VIP beach has several advantages over the other beaches. To take advantage of some of these advantages you will need to be one of the first people on the beach, the gate opens at 8:00am and the line usually starts at around 7:00am to 7:30am to get the best spots. The best spots are the beds with covers over them so you have shade throughout the day. The open beds get direct sunlight and it is too hot to use them in the middle of the day unless you are a dedicated tanner.

Lifestyles Tropical VIP Bar

Lifestyles Tropical VIP Bar

VIP Beach Lounge

VIP Beach Lounge

Many of the front rows of beds are on cable swings that are pretty nice. You can sit there with your foot on the cable and rock yourself while viewing the ocean through the glass windscreen. There are also two story beds that are popular that give a little more privacy and allow you to look over everyone else to view the ocean.
These are the first beds to be taken. You will need to bring a towel or other items to leave on the bed to reserve it; you can then head up and get breakfast. I usually get up early in the morning and bring a book to read while I wait for my family to wake up and join me before heading over to the buffet for breakfast.

The VIP area also has WiFI available in the bed area and also near the entrance where there is a bar-like area near the sushi bar. While the WiFi isn’t great, it is good enough to be able to get email or download a new eBook for your kindle or other reader. The WiFi in this section is free but you do need to get a username and pass to get access.

There is Sushi available after 11:00am and the California roll is one of my family’s favorites. Drinks are also available near the sushi bar and are provided by the VIP bars that are stocked with import alcohol and have a much wider selection of available drinks. Everything served in this section is of a bit higher quality that the other bars on the resort.

There is also a limited selection of food in the VIP section like hamburgers and fries, “crunchy munchies” which are chips, cheese sauce and salsa, and a few more items. Usually it takes .5 hours to an hour for food to arrive to plan ahead of time if you want to eat a snack.

The Party Resort

The Lifestyle Tropical is much more geared to the party lifestyle. At the main pool in the middle of the day there are DJ’s playing music, making up audience participation party games (like you would find on a Cruise Liner), pool volleyball, volleyball, a gym and during the evening a bit heavier party atmosphere at the main pool. If you happen to have a room on the pool side of the resort it is great entertainment to sit out on the balcony and watch the happenings (that is if you don’t plan on joining).

The Cofresi is a little more sophisticated with its Onsite Theater and live Spanish music at night. I really liked the more relaxed atmosphere of the live Spanish music. There were a number of comfortable couches in a lower light area and the music was pretty good. This act usually consisted of two guys with guitars singing traditional Spanish music. The pools are smaller and more secluded with multiple levels and palm trees shading part of the sitting areas.

Play areas for kids

Both resorts have play areas for the kids. The Cofresi Palm has one right next to its kid’s pool and the Lifestyle Tropical has one over near the gym area. Both are supervised during certain parts of the day.

Food Tropical Vs. Cofresi Palm

Both resorts have their own buffet and reservation style restaurants. Between the two you get a pretty good selection of Sea Food, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and Italian restaurants. With both, getting reservations is a pain. You have to stand in line the day you want to book a restaurant and in all likely hood you will not get your choice of reservations, most of them will already be booked by VIP gold members. When you are ready to eat you can though head up to the restaurant and see how long the waiting list is. Often you can just wait a little while and get a seat.

The two buffets are completely different. At the Cofressi Palm (the Pearl) there are chefs in the middle of the main food displays and you can ask them to make minor changes like grilling your bread etc. The Cofressi seems to have a little higher quality of food although you can get a pretty good breakfast egg omelet freshly made at the Casa Blanca at Lifestyle Tropical. The Casa Blanca always has a selection of Dominican food if you want to try out the local cuisine.

As far as which one is better the Pearl or the Casa Blanca, my family is torn. We like each one better for different reasons, you have access to both and they are only a few minute walk from each other so I recommend trying them both.

The Rooms Cofresi Palm Vs. Tropical

Depending on which room you get the Tropical seems to have a bit better view. If you spend most of your time out and about then this really doesn’t matter much. The Cofresi Palm is newer and the rooms (at least for now) are in better condition.
Maintenance is good aesthetically but leaves a little to be desired mechanically. Often there are minor electrical problems such as with our last visit the light in our kid’s room would not shut off properly and would flash periodically for several minutes before finally turning off (yah I know pretty strange).

Both resorts have a problem with hot water so expect cool or cold showers at times, we even had our water turned off once during our visit and had to wait to use the bathroom and sink. That is part of the reason I consider this to be a bit less than a “5 Star” resort. By Dominican standards everything is in excellent condition, but by foreign standards there are a few issues.

The quality of the rooms is a little better at the Cofresi Palm, first due to the newness of the resort and second most of the rooms come with a Jacuzzi tub which is pretty cool for those romantic evenings or if you need to recuperate from the day’s activities. That’s not to say that the rooms at the Tropical are bad, there is just a little better chance you are going to get one with air-conditioning problems or other problems.

Tipping the Staff

Both the Cofresi Palm and the Tropical are all inclusive resorts so you do not have to tip to receive pretty good service. That being said, if you hand out a few tips early in the day the various staff member do tend to be a bit more diligent in providing service. I usually always tip my waiter in the VIP area or the bartender, I will leave 100 pesos or so each day for the cleaning person and it doesn’t hurt to give the waiter working your area in the buffet a few pesos once or twice during your stay. They will remember you (especially if you are nice and talk to them a little) and they are usually a little more diligent in getting back to you during your vacation.

Lifestyle Tropical Vs. Cofresi Palm

So which is better, Lifestyle’s Tropical or the Cofresi Palm? It pretty much comes down to which is more important being close to the party areas, and VIP lounge or somewhat nicer rooms and being closer to the more secluded pools and quieter area (both sides can be a bit noisy depending on your neighbors). I have friends that much prefer Cofresi and others the Tropical. Either way if you are getting the $24 per night per room deal it is well worth the price. You can check my Resort Deals page to see if a new deal is being run.