The Crown Villas At Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort
Travel Blogs from Puerto Plata
John met us today, thanked us for all of our work, and said "today is all about you relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the Dominican."
It was exactly what I needed to hear after a terrible start to the morning. Most days, I'm getting only 6 hours of sleep, and am totally fine with that; staying up late sharing life stories with Jamie, waking up early to fit in some yoga on my beach facing balcony.
But this mornings yoga started with a glimpse of a blob ...
... Our last school day started with a pelota tournament. Last year the big sport on campus was basketball. Somehow this year the shift was made to playing baseball. It's hard for me to believe because these kids seem like they've been playing since they've been walking. They are very skilled, and their natural fitness with the ball is amazing to watch. So of the rules in the playing field were different than what were used to: we play on the basketball court, bases are a pile ...
... country is full of friendly gestures.
After dinner at the hotel, the kids enacted the quincianos ceremony. Which is basically a fake wedding ceremony to celebrate her coming of age. Kayleys fathers, Natalie and Annalore, toasted her and helped her choose her court. They danced ( her pretend husband Caleb promises he'll work on perfecting her waltz soon) and celebrated and then we spent hours preparing items for our group for the last day ...
... as I see nothing that the government is truly providing) and there is an overall feeling of superiority within the Dominican people (sound familiar?).
The place that I found was advertised as a volunteer vacation. They provided very inexpensive, and basic housing for a very low cost and volunteer opportunities were available and you could jump in as much or as little as you liked. So at that time, I decided that this was our best option and planned to ...
... all climbed to the top!
Afterwards, we saw 6 patients, stumbling through our exams in Spanish. The girl I was working with, Sarah, and I had a patient who was Haitian, spoke Creole and who had brought in her own translator who only spoke Spanish. Awesome!
After we saw the morning patients, we ate a late lunch of this eggplant mash, and bread with Skippy extra chunky peanut butter and fruit!
We topped our morning census when we saw 19 patients! It was ...
How has this resort rated in the past?
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Crown Villas At Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort Puerto Plata
Not for elderlies
We were a group of 12 and rented three villas from a VIP owner. Our ages are 21, 43, 46, 47, 50, 51, 56, 71,72, 80. Everyone in our group agreed that we would never return to this resort. The villas are very nice. However, some villas do have many many steps between the levels and there are no guarantees you will be able to switch villas if one is not suitable for you or your party. The week we were there, they were completely booked. As a matter of fact, five of our party members were delayed a day getting in and the management had given their villa to someone else and we were told there were no villa for our arriving party. Once management realized the mistake was theirs and not ours, we finally got the third villa..but is was a huge hassle. This was just the beginning of a very stressful week. Though our three villas were relatively close, walking from one to the other was not an option for the three elderlies in our group because of the hilly terrain. This was very inconvenient. Shuttles were available, but the wait was usually 20-30 minutes and if you weren't standing in front of your villa, they just kept going. This is important to know if you are 70-80 years old and have to stand in the hot sun for half an hour to get to the restaurant or anywhere else you want to go.
To just get a mixed drink, (no liquor stocked in villas), it took 20-30 minutes waiting on shuttle to bar, 5-10 minutes to get the drinks, 10 minutes to get back to villa,...all to just enjoy having a drink by your own pool. Our pool was only cleaned once the entire week. Our maid was on time 4-7 morning to prepare breakfast, but the other two villas had to call every morning and consistently had breakfast an hour later than requested. A couple of mornings, they had none at all. One morning we had none. The beach is among the worst any of us have been to. The VIP beach area was very crowded, hot, and we never stayed. There was just no point other than to get a drink while checking it out. The VIP pool was nice but we didn't use this either other than to get drinks from the bar. It was usually crowded and no chaise beds available. There were lots of kids there and very noisy. The villas: air conditioning only in the bedrooms. We also had ants in our kitchen and in the cupboards. Our villa always had a smell of pesticide as they tried spraying each day. Each of our three bedrooms were on a different floor and there was a flight of stairs down to the pool. Horrible villa for small children or eldery. Remember, you will not know what villa you are assigned until you check in. Requests were not honored, and switching is impossible if they are full.
The only restaurant we enjoyed was the VIP...but it wasn't consistently good, and the menu is the same every day.
All in all, we were all very tired after this trip and couldn't wait to get home to get some much needed rest from our vacation.
If you have any walking disabilities...I would not recommend this resort. If you are looking for a beautiful beach resort...I would not recommend this resort. If you are looking for a stress free and relaxing vacation, I would not recommend this resort.
Beautiful Place - Client Service Needs Help
We stayed at the Lifestyle Crown Villas form Aug. 25, 2007 - Sept 1, 2007. The villas are beautiful and very clean. We had villa 54. It was similar to the resort that is on the website. PERFECT! The maid that cooked us breakfast every day was great. The VIP area was even better. The pool and the beach were AMAZING...the pictures on the website are very accurate. The food at the VIP restaurant is the best, but the other restaurants are good too (except for the sushi. It is rolled in the morning, so it is not the freshest thing). We cannot wait to go back.
I hesitate to write anything negative, but it is with the hopes that someone from the resort will read this....and to warn other guests. THERE IS A LACK OF CLIENT SERVICE. If you are laid back like we are, you won't be bothered, but it can also depend on your mood that day.
1) We arrived with several suitcases and 3 small children. The taxi dropped us off at a curb and just left us there to fend for ourselves. There were no bellboys and no signs...nobody was there to help us. We walked around in circles and couldn't find anyone...and it was HOT. Finally, a guest told us to go upstairs to the "VIP LOUNGE" and we ended up in a place that looked like a bar. That was the front desk.
2) At the restaurants, the waiters/waitresses seemed uninterested. The bartenders at the beach would not call a shuttle and they basically shrugged their shoulders and said "too bad." There was just no sense of urgency. If they forgot your order, they didn't care.
3) My husband and friend golfed at the free 9 hole course. They said it was awful. When they asked the front desk to schedule tee times at Playa Dorada, they were told SEVERAL times that it would be no problem. They arrived and were told that there was a tournament and had to go all the way back home.
4) The staff walk in and out of your villa to clean, stock the fridge, etc. No warning...they just walk right by you in the pool and go int through the back door. It's alarming at first, but I guess it's what they have to do.
One final note, if you don't know spanish, try to buy a little book or print out key phrases from the internet. It helps when asking for directions or speaking with some of the staff members. I know spanish and had to use it OFTEN.
Don't let my negative comments scare you. The vacations was wonderful and we are planning on going back.
Pinch me i am dreaming !
Have just returned from staying at a Crown Villa for two weeks. It was amazing , Huge bedrooms, clean Villa. Ate in the Gourmet VIP every night it was open and booking was no problem. I had read lots of americans views and i was really worried but we were a british family of five and have had the best time. We politely declined the offer of a "tour" which is when they try to sell to you and they left us alone.
Great time with young kids
We stayed at the Lifestyle Hacienda resort from Aug. 18-25. It was my husband and I with our 11 month old, and his brother and wife with their 22 month old. We were a little worried about traveling to the DR with such small children, but it turned out to be great.
We were originally booked in the Penthouse (through an RCI exchange). It was fine, although the rooms were a bit small. My brother-in-law had asked the VIP guest service to let us know if a villa became available. Sure enough, the next day one did and we quickly packed up and moved. We had to pay a lot more, but it was so worth it. They even gave us our choice of two available villas (some are definitely better than others - if you get there and don't like your villa, ask to see if there are any others open. We got lucky because people canceled in light of Hurricane Dean). The villa (47B) was awesome! It was very nice to have the private pool in the back for the kids. The water was so perfect. The woman cooking breakfast every morning was awesome - she even made us French toast, which was better than I've had at home! We had some problems with ants, esp. in the kitchen, and little crabs (one of them got into the villa), but overall the bugs were not really an issue. We were also able to get a crib for our son. Make sure to test it out though before you place your child in it - the first one broke on us (thank god our son was not sleeping in it when it broke). These cribs certainly would not meet US safety standards (the crib slats are very far apart), but surprisingly, my son slept fine in them. We brought along our monitor so we could enjoy the pool while he napped. It worked out perfectly. Also, the high chairs at the restaurants did not have center bars or straps - our 11 month old could not sit in them because he would fall out (the 22 month old did fine). So bring along a booster seat to attach to a regular chair, or use the stroller.
We actually thought the food was decent. Most of us are vegetarian, and we had decent selections. We liked Indochine, El Zorro and VIP Gourmet the best. They were quite accomodating in substituting ingredients to make something veggie (esp. VIP Gourmet). We even took the babies out to dinner every night, and they did fine. No one got sick from food (although the heat and lack of air conditioning, esp. at the lunch buffet at Casablanca) did get to us. We generally did lunch at Casablanca every day - it's repetitive, esp. for vegetarians, but the pasta made to order was really good! We got sushi a couple of times from the VIP beach (veggie rolls), and they were even nice enough to pack them for us to take back to our villa! I braced myself for very disappointing food, but was pleasantly surprised.
We didn't take part in many nighttime activities because of the kids, but actually went into VIP World a couple of times (my son slept peacefully in his stroller). It was nice and relaxing. If the intention is to party every night, I don't think there's much to do, but if you want something chill and relaxing, it's pretty nice. Our husbands went to the casino a few times, and seems to like it.
The sales people are a little pushy with the timeshare, but if you tell them no they eventually get it. We let our husbands deal with them.
It would have been nice to have a golf cart (which are for members only), but the shuttle did the trick. It was hit or miss though - sometimes it would show up in 2 minutes, sometimes it took 20. Make sure you tell the reception when you ask for the shuttle to have it stop in front of your villa. There were times when the shuttle drove right on by because we weren't waiting outside in front of our villa.
All in all, it was a great trip. The biggest complaint is the heat and lack of air conditioning. If it was just the adults, we would have been fine, but it was a little tough with the kids. They love babies though - every place we went we were greeted with "Hola bebe!" People were friendly, although the customer service left a bit to be desired.
Best Vacation Ever
We stayed at the Lifestyle Crown Villas from June 10 - 17, 2007. We stayed in villa 65. We had an absolutely wonderful time there and would go back in a heart beat. We are a family of 5 with daughters 9, 12 and 16. It was their first trip out of the country and only my second. This was our first stay in an all-inclusive.
VILLA - The villa was Amazing. We were in awe from the moment we walked in. We had 3 bedrooms all with king sized beds. Each bedroom had its own full bathroom. The pool was definitely the highlight of our trip. It was a great size for our family and very private. There was a little bridge over the pool that the girls and yes even my husband liked to jump off of. We had a full kitchen and a fridge that had pop, beer and water in it. We made a note in Spanish to ask for diet pepsi and had no trouble getting it. Our housekeeper was very nice and made a great breakfast everyday. There were always people around in the mornings gardening, cleaning the villa and pool. There was a guard stationed close by and he always appreciated it when I brought him pop/water and snacks. I was glad we brought snacks from home to eat during the non-meal times. We brought our own pool toys as well. We did not have a golf cart, we were told they were only for owners.
RESTAURANTS - The best was by far the VIP Gourmet. We ate there 4 nights in a row. It is for VIP Members and their guests only. It is only open Mon - Fri nights and you need to make reservations the day before. We were very impressed with their steaks. The servings aren't large, but that is okay. It is also the only restaurant with air conditioning. We ate at the main buffet a couple of times for lunch and never had trouble finding something to eat. There was always fruit, bread and a pasta bar. Those three things alone please my family. I found it was fun to try some new things and many of them were very good. We ate at Bellini's a couple of times for lunch. They serve pizza and pasta at lunch. We ate one night at each Bellini's and Indochinese. They were both good and a nice diversion from what we had eaten the rest of the week. Our only main complaint about the restaurants was the lack of air conditioning. Other than VIP Gourmet there was not air conditioning, my husband found it pretty hard to eat lunch when it was so hot. It's not really a complaint; it's just the way it is. We also ordered hamburgers (yuck) and a fish filet (yummmm) of the bar menu at both the VIP World and VIP Beach. My girls were not impressed with the hamburgers, couldn't even eat them. But I knew this before going due to tripadvisor so it was no surprise. Plus we were are from Iowa and what do you expect in the Dominican Republic anyways?
POOLS/BEACH - We did swim in a couple of the pools but much preferred staying at our villa pool. The tropical resort pool was very busy but extremely nice and beautiful. Everything about the resort was beautiful. The VIP World pool was definitely nice and a lot less crowded. If I wasn't staying in a Villa this is where I would have swum. The beach was fine. We also knew beforehand that this was not on the Caribbean side of the island and to not expect Caribbean water. We enjoyed the ocean very much. My family used the resort kayaks and had fun exploring with them. We probably swam in the ocean 3 times during our stay at the resort; our pool was just so incredible we spent most of our time there.
BARS - We loved the VIP World bar it was where we spent our evenings. It is quite beautiful there and the bartender was always willing to make any drink we wanted. The bar and VIP Beach was also very good. There never seemed to be seats available at the swim up bar at the Tropical but the drinks I had there were good as well. I am not a picky drinker; brands don't matter to me much. The mai tais, bloody mary's, sex on the beach ( drink ), bahama mamas, rainbow, green finger, etc. were all good. I feel like I am going through withdrawal. Actually, I didn't drink that much. Our main goal on this vacation was family time. My girls did get a kick out of watching me drink this shot drink called a rainbow. The bartender lit it at the end and I sucked it through a straw. The girls thought that was pretty cool.
EXCURSIONS - We had to push ourselves to do anything, we were just having so much fun sitting around the pool and enjoying the resort. We went to Ocean World on Tuesday. We did not do any of the extra add on activities there. Ocean World was okay but I don't think we'll go again in the future. The snorkeling tank was a very short experience but they did let us do it again later in the day. It was a great first experience for our kids. The swimming pool is very nice. We spent a lot of time there. The waterfalls and the tiger behind the glass were kind of cool. We also enjoyed the birds. Supposedly, they used to include a BUFFET LUNCH, this in NOT INCLUDED anymore. On Saturday morning we went on a snorkeling excursion with an excursion group there near the tropical. I think it was called aqua ? - something. We left about 8 a.m. and headed to Sosua. We were outfitted with gear and then boarded a boat for a very short ride to a snorkeling spot. We snorkeled there and then went to another location. We felt the snorkeling was very good. Someone on this site had recommended bringing water bottles filled with bread and then squirt out the bread to feed the fish. This was amazing. There were fish swarming around us. I've been on several snorkeling trips and this was the most fish I had ever seen. The girls thought it was pretty cool. We were back to the resort around noon. It think it was $35/adults and $25/kids. A real bargain for our family.
MISC. - We thought the staff was very helpful and friendly. Many of them did lack English skills but that was to be expected. The Welcome VIP Party on Sunday night was amazing and definitely worth attending. We were pulled into a sales pitch. The man was very slick pulling us into it without us knowing it was happening. Of course I kept telling my husband that this was happening and he didn't believe me. It took a while for our NO to get heard but once they knew we meant it the pitch ended. That was on Monday afternoon and they never bothered us again. If they asked we just said we'd already been on the "tour". We took $100 in ones and $60 in fives to use for tipping as well as some small treats and gifts. We used everything, and felt good doing it. We also took along plenty of sunscreen and bug repellant. I made my family sign a vacation attitude contract before leaving home. It included things like "I will not complain about the food", "I will make the best of every situation", "I will not complain about being bored" etc. It was very effective with everyone including my husband . We brought most of our common meds, but forgot the imodium. This was basically the only meds we could have used, bummer. No one got really sick but a little diarrhea. We brought a couple of cheap umbrellas and they came in very handy. My daughter enjoyed the light sticks I brought along and we shared them with many kids sitting around us. Thank goodness for Dollar Tree.
HINT- Book your stay through an owner. We did and felt we got a true bargain. We stayed one week in a 3 bedroom villa for $1100 plus the all inclusive fees of $37.50/adult/day and ½ that for ages 12 and under. Our whole villa plus all inclusives for our family of 5 for one week was $2150. We were had VIP Access across the board. We had the gold bracelets. I've read a couple of comments about the lack or "romance" at the resort especially for honeymooners. My husband and I were celebrating our 20th Anniversary and found the resort to be very romantic especially for 2nd Honeymooners like us especially when you had kids along.
Contact me with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org
Would never return!
I have just returned from a week long stay at the Lifestyle Hacienda Crown Villas, and I want to start off by saying that visually the resort is beautiful. But remember that saying "never judge a book by its cover"!
I am not too sure where to start... ok, l will start with the good.
I had such a bad time there, I can't even think of anything that was worth talking about.
Now the BAD!
1.Customer service was horrible! Alright, i am being unfair. The customer service from people in management positions, was horrible. The average hard working Dominicans employed by the resort were polite, helpful, and very nice.
2.Food was just average, and made me see the bathroom more than i wanted to.
3.All the resturants had NO air conditioning.
- had ants everywhere
- pool was dirty, and cleaned only once during the week
- located very far away from everything else within the resort.
5.If you are going here through a RCI exchange, then be expected to be treated as a second rate guest even if you upgrade to VIP status. You will be told that a golf cart is included with the villa, to help get around the resort. That is a lie. But they will give you one if you buy a "membership" as they call it. That will only cost you thousands of dollars.
I could go on more, but then i will just sound bitter. I travel alot and have never been treated so badly by management of a resort when or if there was a problem. I have never felt compelled to write a negative review about a resort in the past, but this time it was very necessary. I would never go back, and would never refer someone else here. Hope that this review, will save some one else from having a terrible time there as well.
Fell in LOVE
Just returned from puerto plata where we booked a 3 bedroom villa at Lifestyle holidays. unbelievable! The villas are amazing...
my own pool and yard, a maid to cook breakfast, not to mention all of the vip services at the resort.
The staff was friendly but alittle vague, we are minglers so we got a ton of info from fellow guests...
the food was good.
the resort was spotless and well maintained.
We loved it so much we bought a membership and are looking forward to our next visit, hopefully soon.
Would not go back...
When abroad, I have to say that I do not consider myself to be a picky traveler as the basic necessities are all I need (i.e.:decent food, clean place to stay, considerable safety, honest personnel and customer service that is consistent and dependable). While staying a week at Lifestyle Crown Villas, I unfortunately have to say that this resort failed to deliver my basic expectations.
Listed below are my personal experiences:
THE GOOD: The pools were relatively nice. Good size and well proportioned for the size of the resort. Shaded areas are at a premium. There are some areas that provide large queen sized beds with shade. The beds by the pool concept seemed somewhat tacky/cheesy to me. The swim up bar near the main pool was very nice.The Mama Juana is an interesting local Dominican beverage concocted of a mixture of rum, honey and other liquors that is placed in a bottle of tree bark, herbs and leaves. The flavor was good and the preparation was interesting nonetheless. The weather during our trip was great! Typical tropical climate with some brief periods of rain, but mostly sunshine with a nice breeze. The pool at our villa was very nice and the pool attendant came by daily to maintain it. The available entertainment matched the overall cheesiness of the resort, but served its purpose. There was a nice fireworks display on our second day that could be viewed from the balcony of our villa.
THE BAD: Customer service for the most part was poor and unfortunately appeared to be a symptom throughout this entire resort. The staff mostly appeared that they wished they were elsewhere and mostly seemed somewhat bothered when you request the simplest of things.On many areas of the resorts public areas, the walkways were slick, slippery and uneven creating a safety hazard. Management seemed non-existent. Overall the food in general is mediocre at best and seemed to be regurgitated daily. Visit the main buffet as the last resort. The only dining area worthy of recommendation would be the VIP Gourmet dining room where reservations are required. The whole VIP thing adds to cheesiness factor. Even the service within the "VIP" Gourmet dining room was subpar even though it was labeled as 5 star. Most bars stocked generic liquors of the "Classic" brand, but some bars did stock decent brand name liquors. Our three bedroom villa was very nice from the exterior, but had some considerable issues within. First, the villa had a consistent and prominent smell of a crap can. It smelled as if the villa was sitting on top of a port-a-potty without the deodorant additive. We mentioned the problem to customer service but the issue was never addressed. The floors of the villa were all stone with concrete grout so walking on barefoot left your feet feeling dirty all the time. The lighting was very poor throughout the villa making reading during the evening impossible without additional lighting. Air conditioning was available in the bedrooms only and the main areas of the home remained warm and muggy (and stinky with the smell).The homes were built without any form of weatherstripping so large spiders the size of a half dollar would creep in at night. Each morning a maid came by to prepare breakfast then clean the villa. The breakfast was great the first two mornings, but she apparently only knew how to prepare one meal; eggs scrambled with ham or bacon and cheese. We asked her to try and mix it up a bit and she agreed, but we received the same. She also provided a daily tray of croissants, rolls, and fruit along with the daily paper.The refrigerator at the villa was small and was stocked with bottled water, juice, sodas and Presidente beers.
THE UGLY: Receiving honest and fair service for money paid is a basic element that we all should expect. On multiple occasions, Lifestyle let our party down. We witnessed other parties experiencing the same frustrations which provided some validation of our dissatisfaction. First was the golf cart as many have mentioned before on this site. We were told we were to receive a golf cart and were placed on a waiting list, but were never contacted. Maybe it is ready now that I am home! Fortunately, our group did not mind walking so it was not a major issue, but just the first in a series of disappointments. Second was the excursion "director". The room in which you are presented the available excursions is sleek and clean with flat screen displays and comfy furniture. We were shown a few videos of some very nice catamaran excursions that ranged from $139 to $179 pp. We were told that skiing, jet skis, parasailing, and snorkeling were available and that fishermen were on board to catch fresh fish and grill them on site. We signed up for the "Catbird" catamaran trip and after a two hour trip, the captain dropped anchor. There were no jet skis on board the boat. The zodiac that was to be used for skiing and parasailing would not start. The snorkeling was very poor and the boat did not have enough snorkeling equipment. Overall the staff of the boat seemed a bit ill prepared. The biggest dissapointment was there were no fisherman and therefore no fresh fish grilled on site as we were told. Just the same old regurgitated food from the buffet. Upon our return we spoke with the excursion "director" and informed him of the misrepresentations he was offering. Shortly after initially inquiring about the excursions, he advised us to not purchase any trips from individuals wandering the beach area as he labeled them as pirates. He certainly knows the deceptive tactics of a pirate. I saved the beach at this resort for last as there really is not much to say. Being on the Atlantic Ocean offers little picturesque value. The tugboat and barge marooned off the shore added a little intrigue. Slung on its port side, a tug boat had ran aground roughly 100 yards from the beach shore detracting from any possible view of the open ocean. Next to it was a barge that was being loaded up with what appeared to be sandbags. The beach was unimpressive and overall uninteresting from this tourists perspective and unfortunately matched the entire offering from Lifestyle Holidays Resorts. Hope this review is helpful to all wandering travelers!
First Class Luxury
This part of the Lifestyle Hacienda Resort is a trade secret.
We found it by accident and booked through an eBay seller called VIP Vacation. He bought weeks through the Lifestyle Club and we took advantage of his spare weeks by purchasing a week for very little money as it turned out. The vacation was excellent and well organised from airport collect to accommodation standards and the customer service girls are only too willing to make your holiday perfect by getting you organised for the excursions and restaurant bookings. The villa is luxury throughout and the pool area is maintained daily.
The maid cooks breakfast each morning returning twice more to tidy and change bed sheets.
If you like villa holidays but dont like cooking, cleaning and tiding up after the bratts, then this is perfect for you.
The resort food is excellent, the resort is well maintained and protected, we had a golf buggy to travel around the resort on and recommend this holiday to all.