The quick summary is that my boyfriend and I had a fantastic vacation at Lifestyles Tropical Resort. I read HUNDREDS of reviews before going, so this will be a combination of my own observations along with some responses to things you may have read elsewhere. WHO SHOULD GO: Honestly, I feel like this is a place designed for adults. There are areas for kids, but this place truly caters to adults. As I don’t have children, this was great! There were whole pools that were “Adults Only” and the lifeguards did a great job enforcing this. HOTEL ROOM: Our room was great. I had read that buildings 5 and 6 are newer, so I requested those and got building 5. Everything in our room worked perfectly. In fact, our AC would make us cold! I read before leaving that some had trouble getting items they needed (water refills, towels, etc.) Every morning, I laid $3 on a pillow with a note (in Spanish) asking the woman who cleaned our room for what we needed, and we got everything we asked for, always. Every room has its own balcony. There’s a safe attached inside the closet that you can rent for $3 a day. We placed all our valuables inside the safe while away from the room and never had any problem. So, the television has many channels, some of them come in better than others and a lot are in Spanish (this shouldn’t be surprising). If you are going on vacation for the television, maybe you should just stay home? I had read before leaving of people complaining about their toilet clogging. Next to the toilet is a little sign that says to put the paper in the trash can, not the toilet. This may seem gross to people from other places, but we followed the instructions, and never had a problem with our toilet. We never had problems with having hot water or with losing electricity. The electricity was out when we checked in for about 30 minutes and that was all. There are local people in the DR who only get to use electricity after 5pm, so it seems almost sinful the way I’ve seen certain people complain in reviews. BEACH: The cabanas owned by the resort are about one story above the ocean. The actual beach is public, but it was never very crowded while we were there. We thought the beach was very nice. It was clean and the waves were nice – not too crazy, but not unmoving. The Lifestyle cabanas are very nice (the size of a double bed and comfortable). The beach is open from 8am to 6pm. Every morning, my boyfriend and I would go wait at the gate (arriving between 7:30 and 7:45am) to grab a good cabana. Bring something with you (flip flops, t-shirt, book, whatever) that you can leave on the bed. This will save your spot all day. You can come and go! At the VIP beach, you can get sushi. You can get other food from a menu as well, but that can take a long time to receive. Drinks are ever flowing. Pina coladas are AMAZING! POOLS: There are a couple pools by Lifestyles (and then more by the Confresi). My boyfriend and I most enjoyed the one with the swim-up bar (adults only). You could also look down from that pool into another that has a volleyball net and a basketball hoop. There is another very quiet pool by buildings 5 and 6. SERVICE AND TIPPING: The staff here is lovely. They are always popping up to ask if you want drinks. They smile and say “hola.” You should tip people and say “gracias.” Before you leave for your trip, go to the bank and get a stack of dollar bills. You don’t really need to exchange your money when you arrive. We did with some and then were just having to find ways to use it, everyone would rather have US money. (The following monetary suggestions are in US currency. The Dominican peso is about 40 to the US dollar.) The average salary in the DR is a fraction of what it is in the US, give a $1 to those who help you. We typically tipped those who brought us things on the beach $1-2. We would tip bartenders $1-2. As I said earlier, I tipped my maid $3 a day. After getting an omelet made by the same guy a few days, I gave him $1. We tipped at the a la carte restaurants as well. Also, the staff works round the clock it seems to keep a place that could fall into a trashy dump (with so many people drinking and eating all the time) in clean condition. Seriously, great job with this. FOOD: Depending on how long you are staying, you will be given a certain number of reservations at the a la carte restaurants. (We were there 5 nights, and we got 2 automatic reservations). For the days you already have a reservation, you can go to guest services between 9 and 10am and request something different. If you don’t have a reservation, you can show up between 3 and 5pm and ask if there have been any cancelations. If you don’t have a reservation, you eat at one of the buffets. We only had to do this one night. Note that all of the a la carte restaurants are closed on Sunday as there is the big welcome party with lots of food for everyone. The food here is fine. Would I brag about it, no. Was it edible, most definitely. My first tip, go to the Pearl (buffet at the Confresi) for breakfast. It is larger and much less hectic than the Casablanca (buffet at Lifestyles). The food is also better at the Pearl (for example, they make the pancakes to order rather than just making a pile). It only takes about 5 minutes to walk there. We ate at 4 a la carte restaurants: Blue Lagoon (seafood), Trapiche (Mexican), Bellini (Italian), and Moomtaz (Indian). At the Blue Lagoon, I had some salmon that was quite good. Bellini had fresher vegetables than we had seen before. Moomtaz was probably the most authentic if you like Indian food. We avoided Indochine because we heard it was bad. At the beach, you can get crab, fish tempera, and veggie maki rolls. They are pretty good and you don’t have to leave the beach! SALESMEN/TIMESHARE: Alright, so this was an area I was concerned with but shouldn’t have been. This is a resort that sells timeshares, and there are specific people that are there to sell them to you. When you arrive, they will call them the “concierge.” The person will tell you that they will meet you at breakfast and take you on your “welcome tour” and give you your gift. If you have any interest in a timeshare or want the gift (bottle of rum) then, by all means, go on the tour. The tour is meant to try and sell you a timeshare. From all the feedback I got from others while I was there, the tour didn’t take up too much of people’s time and they didn’t have a lot of trouble saying no. I never saw the timeshare guys trolling the beach or bothering people as they were trying to enjoy relaxing. However, my boyfriend and I wanted to avoid the tour altogether. Therefore, we ate breakfast at the Pearl (which as I said has better food anyway). Since we escaped that first morning, we likely got moved down on the list as new people came in. Other mornings we would be walking around and a timeshare person would ask “did you guys get here yesterday?” and we would say “no.” That would be that. They assume that if you have been there longer than a day that you’ve already taken the welcome tour. Some people I read were angry that there are places you don’t have access to if you don’t have a timeshare. This did not bother us at all. We paid for a certain amount of access. We had beaches and pools; plenty to eat and drink. If you want access to more beaches and other things, then pay more. That’s really all I have to say about that. EXCURSIONS: This is one area that I cannot be of much help. Many excursions are many hours, and we did not want to devote whole days to things. So, we only went on one excursion – horseback riding through the countryside. It was just a couple hours (bought from John Wayne in the Lifestyles lobby). I had never ridden a horse before, but I was able to do it. (It does hurt your butt though!) The highlight was getting to see the beautiful Dominican Republic landscape. Just gorgeous. We also took advantage of the spa (Metamorphosis) at Lifestyles. We got a one hour couples massage. So nice. SAFETY: I felt completely safe at the resort. There is a lot of security. We only ventured outside of the resort for the one excursion, and were always with a guide. I felt safe then as well, but I’ve read that you should be careful if you plan on going around by yourself. HEALTH: Before you go, you should make an appointment with your doctor or travel nurse (a month ahead would be best). You will need to make sure you are caught up on Hep A and Typhoid. They should also give you pills for malaria and traveler’s diarrhea. All are important. Bring bug spray with you and spray every day. Whenever I didn’t spray, I would get bites. Wear sunscreen. The sun can be brutal and will burn you. I saw so many people with burns, one guy with giant blisters on his calves. Ouch! Buy sunscreen and bug spray before you come unless you want to pay $30USD for a bottle. Also, DO NOT PUT THE WATER IN YOUR MOUTH. Do not open your mouth while showering, do not brush your teeth with the water. Don’t do it. CONCLUSION: If you are a laid back person who wants sun, beach, pool, food and drinks whenever you want, then don’t think anymore about it. Go to Lifestyle Tropical, follow these tips and you’ll have a great time. Ugh, I miss I already.
While the location was nice, I wish the Cheap Caribbean site would have said the only way to get access to the "nice" beaches, bars, food, etc. was to purchase the VIP option. We thought since we were "all inclusive" that's what it meant...not even close. A non VIP person only gets a sliver of ok beach. On both sides of you are beautiful beaches, good food & snacks, bars, free wifi, etc. You are treated like dirt if you are not a VIP. No name brand alcohol, a lousy smelly old room that backs up to the road that all the hotel staff use so it's noisy day and night. It's a shame. Very deceiving and I don't plan on using Cheap Carribean again or recommending them any time soon.
I was a little nervous from the reviews. Check in was a nightmare but after a couple of different trips to different rooms any many trips back to the front desk we finally got a room in bldg#1 that was comfortable! The front desk staff is not very friendly....It is a big resort & there is alot of walking if you are not use to it. Great exercise! The room is stocked everyday with water bottles/beer & soda at no extra charge. You can get a safe key for a few dollars a day. Bring ALOT of Dollar bills...tipping will get you excellent services! The staff works hard. Bring a beach towel so you don't have to deal with the towel keys-use them for the a/c unit on the wall when you enter your room. You can get some great deals on the beach from the venders you really don't have to leave the resort. This resort is VERY SAFE! That was a plus. Security is really tight & they are very friendly & helpful. There are many gates to get into the resort. The food was good for a three star resort. Keep in mind it is a three star resort. The fresh omlettes/fruit & oatmeal in the am ..snacks all day to the buffet at night. The pasta was every good. The blue lagoon was the best by far. The V.I.P. is a must..fantastic..The pool bar was great-so was the staff at all the bars. It rained every day for a little bit but we made the best of it. There are time-share staff but they are just doing there job to promote this hotel. If you want to see the resort then go & get your welcome package. it is a bottle of rum & a t-shirt! It is worth it to pay the extra for the bus to take you to the resort. *Bumpy ride on a bus -it does have a/c & much better than getting a taxi! The best part of this resort is the entertainment staff. They made you feel like part of the family from morning to night. Starting with the water erobics with babyface in the am to the full staff at the pool playing vollyball and differnent games around the pool to karoekee/bingo and much more activites before & after dinner. Scooby, babyface & all the staff girls & guys were very entertaining. The dance lessons were fun. The shows at night were all fantastic. Everynight was a great show. The disco was also great. Never a boring moment at this resort! I have been to five star resorts all over & this resort has the best entertainment by far-they really go out of there way. It is a great get-a-way. Meet alot of nice people from all around the world. This is a great resort to relax with friends or for a family. We just booked our next four night getaway..can't wait to get back to have fun & relax in the sun!
I'd highly recommend Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort because it offered the best value we could find BY A LOT during our Caribbean vacation search. Airfare from Boston (with a connection through JFK, departing on a Tuesday and returning on a Monday) and our six night stay here, both booked as a part of the same deal with Cheap Caribbean, was $300 cheaper than the other comparable vacations we were considering. The food was EXCELLENT. You get two reservations which are booked for you ahead of time upon check in for dinner at two of the a la carte restaurants. We were able to finagle a third after the Sunday night VIP beach party chich Cheap Caribbean guests get to attend was cancelled due to rain - and I'm glad we did, because the chile-rubbed filet mignon we had at Trapiche, the on-site Mexican-themed restaurant, was a top-two steak that I've had in my lifetime. Tremendous - definitely go to Trapiche if you can. The fish we had at Blue Lagoon the seafood restaurant, was so-so - I didn't so much like my Mahi-Mahi, but my wife's Grouper was very good. The lesson there, as with all seafood, I suppose, is to go with the more local fish. Indochine, the chinese-fusion restaurant, was good but not great. I've had better General Tso's chicken at the sketchy Chinese restaurant on my street. The pools and beach are tremendous. Avoid the sketchy vendors trying to sell you stuff on the beach - mostly rides on the banana boat or tubing in the cove where the beach is, or trinkets/cigars from a number of shacks posted up along the beach. But they give up after a while. Other than that there's just the harmless "Coco Loco" guy on the beach selling hollowed out fresh coconuts spiked with rum and pineapple juice for $ 7 a pop. The beach and resort were very safe. As Cheap Caribbean guests we had access to one of the VIP beaches, which was great because we were able to get slightly better drinks than the ones at the standard beaches because we could get some second tier call liquors as opposed to the cheap stuff (but, in the fruity rum drinks at the non-vip bars, you can't even really tell that they're using cheap rum). But I think Bacardi makes a slightly better pina colada, and a much better cuba libre. The beds/cabanas on the beach were awesome to sit upon and relax looking out at the beach. Any member of the gardening/landscaping staff will offer to bring a lounge chair out to the beach front for you. The Michael Jackson Experience show is FANTASTIC. I would've paid $40 a ticket to see it in the states. The MJ look alike is a magnificent dancer and performer, as he and his crew reenacted about 10-12 of MJ's best music videos, lip syncing and all. Incredible. During our stay we did two exursions, but not through the hotel. Excursions booked through the hotel tour company and even taxis which are called for you to the lobby are RIDICULOUSLY priced. And I mean ridiculous. We booked our two excursions privately for 2 and 2.5 times less expensive. I found the cab-stand on the resort (despite the fact that nobody who worked for the hotel was willing to tell me where that was, even after I badgered them in English and in Spanish.) We negotiated a bit by pitting several cabbies against one another and got a cab driver to take us to the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua for $40 round trip rather than the $80 advertised at the hotel. That excursion is absolutely incredible, by the way...you take a short hike up a mountain (maybe a mile) with your own guide, checking out the wild mango, avocado, coconut, coffee, and cacao trees along the way. You then jump and slide your way down a series of waterfalls and natural rock slides to the bottom, and wade your way down the falls while checking out some of the coolest natural rock formations I've ever seen. The other excursion we did was a snorkeling trip to Paradise Island, which is a small sand bar out in the middle of the ocean in the midst of a coral reef. It was reallly great snorkeling, with lots of cool types of corals and tropical fish. It's a hike from the Tropical, though - about an hour and twenty minutes each way. Back at the resort, you will have a much easier time communicating with the staff if you speak Spanish. I do, and the service was still just OK, even with the advantage of understanding everyone who didn't speak English (I'd say it's about 60/40 in terms of staff who speak English well-enough to get by). While most staff were EXCELLENT at the restaurants, bars, and shows, their greatness was somewhat canceled out by front desk staff, all of whom were all surly and exeedingly unhelpful. I say that because desipte reporting the following issues on three separate occasions, maintenance never fixed any of the issues with our room (leaky shower, shower head that refused to stay at the proper height, remote that didn't work for our TV, and AC that didn't blow cold enough). They have this weird system where if the issue doesn't get fixed the day you report it, you have to call back and report it again the next day because they don't carry over the tickets from day to day - stupid, in my opinion. The guys trying to sell you the exursions from the tour company, and the guys from the resort trying to sell you an upgrade to the VIP experience, are annoying and a bit pushy. We just told them off every time we were approached during the first two days of our stay and they ultimately took the hint. If you can deal with the little annoyances we mentioned, are self-sufficient, and can deal with a mediocre room, the truly AWESOME food, beaches, pools, and shows, are very worth it, particularly in this gorgeus tropical climate. You WILL NOT get a better value than this deal in the Caribbean. Do it.
First I must say that I was terrified when i saw previous reviews regarding this resort but i really didnt have any issues when it came to this resort. I booked with cheap carribean and was able to use the VIP beach area, this area was very nice well kept and food and drinks were great. People said you had to get there early to get beds but i had no issues, it was a bit hard on the weekend but during the week i was able to get beds with shade at any time>> Had no problems with check in, stayed in the 4th building which was close to everything, stayed in a standard room, the room was fine for the time we spent in there (which was only to shower, get dressed and sleep)/ many others stated that the shower was a problem cause there was no door or curtain but i simply put a towel on the floor and i was fine. AC worked well, staff came and replaced sheets and towels everyday and my fridge was filled almost everyday. Now, regarding the sales people with the white collar shirts that try and sell you a time share, the can be a bit annoying, just to get it over with i went on the tour, i did let them kknow i didnt have alot of time to spare and reminded the sales person a few time just so it wont take long, it took about 45 mins, (word to the wise if you like to travel and have the $ its a good investment to buy the timeshare, i bought it but not till the end of my trip cause i wanted to speak with others that have purchased it) once i did the tour, when i was apporached i told them i did the tour and they did not bother me after that. Regarding service, i had no complaints, pretty much everyone was nice but remember $1 goes a long way with the staff so bring singles and if u run out the currancy will be more than happy to supply u with singles. Food... they tell u to stand in line at 1pm to get reservations which i never did because i always forgot, but i simply went to the restaurants and let them know that i will tip the staff and i was able to eat at 3 restaurants, seafood, mexican and chinese, .. seafood place called blue lagoon was the best.. (steak was awsome).. I also ate at the buffet once on italian nite, it wasnt that great but it was edible.. I heard the other nites were good.. i ate at the buffet for breakfast everyday and just be aware they serve the same breakfast everyday, but it was fine.. People said that they got sick and i did not get sick at all, The thursday BBQ and Sunday nite party were really good... I did go to ocean world, it was fun.. The only thing i would warn people about when going to this resort is doing excursions, do it within the hotel, they have 2 onsite and you will be better off, i went outside for one of my excursions (people located next to the fake walmart) and was a lil disappointed but i learned my lesson, >> now my biggest and really only complaint is the merchants.. the resort lets these merchant on site by the pool, they are the worst, they will harrass u everytime u walk by them even after u tell them no so try to avoid them when they are there by walking in the opposite direction/ Overall i had a great trip and and the resort was fine, just make sure u dont go there with extreme expectations and u will have a good time
I just came back from the Resort on 01/09 and I would like to share my experience with Lifestyle. The personal of the hotel itself are very friendly. However, those people that work for the OLYMPUS TOUR are not helpful at all! My family and other guests that we met in the resort have bought the round trip transportation from the airport to the resort and paid the $56. What we did not know is that from the Resort to the airport there is ONLY one transportation leaving at 9:45am which is arranged through OLYMPUS TOUR. It means that if your flight leaves in the afternoon (which was our case) we would need to be stuck in the airport for 4 to 5 hours!!! They do have later times of transportation, but it is reserved for those people that DID NOT buy with cheapCaribbean coming with JETBLUE. We shared a large taxi which the hotel have called for us and paid $45. It is about 25 minutes ride. The people from Olympus tour are friendly to get you to buy their touristic trips, but they are not accommodating at all to your transportation back to the airport which many have paid for in advance! The food is just OK in the buffet at Casa Blanca!! I advise NOT to do any reservation at the Mexican, Domenican and Chinese restaurant the food has very poor quality! The Indian and Italian food was OK. If you book through cheapCaribbean you are considered VIP and can go to the VIP beach where the waiter comes to you offering drinks and you can other food as well! When you just arrive they assign a representative to give you the welcome gift, but underlined this " welcome gift" what they are trying to do is to sell you an membership/timeshare. From the beginning you can say that you are not interested and they leave you alone. I have been in many all inclusive resort which they always try to sell you the timeshare. They can be very persistent if you don't cut it from the beginning!!
This is a great place to vacation with the family, alone or with friends. The food is excellent for buffet style dining. Always fresh, a good selection at each meal and theme nights to keep up the variety. If traveling with a family, I recommend a villa accomodation if possible. You would have a choice of your own pool or going to the beach. If you go to the beach.... someome should go down at 7am to reserve the cabana beds. We stayed in an older Royal Suites unit that was not yet renovated. It was comfortable but pretty bare compared to our friends and son's rooms. It was recently purchased and due for renovation. The restaurant reservation system needs improvement. You are assigned a couple of nights for restaurants of their choice before you get there. Changing time or place can be difficult. And the food in the restaurants for some reason are not as good a the food in the buffet. There are no extra charges any where eccept in the seafood restaurant for pacific lobster tail. Take lots of US$1 bills for tipping. We took small gifts as well which are appreciated. We did the waterfalls tour on our own with a driver. It was a lot of fun but very strenuous. B e sure you are up for it and in good health and shape. There is a fair amount of walking/hiking on uneven mountain trails or river beds. Take nothing with you..... except good water shoes and cover ups that can with stand rock rubbing, and soiling. The complex is a time share, with a different approach that might work better for some..... if you are interested. A meeting is short and non- pressure. Parties were part of our travel package but none were offered when we got there. Internet is available at the VIP beach bar. All in all I would highly recommend it for a vacation.
Cheap Carribean - Excellent Customer Service - Way to go Chuck!! Anybody can schedule a trip - not to many companies can deal with rescheduling as our Airline had an emergency landing. Olympic Tours....excellent Job guys!! Felix Nunez, Rosie, Fast Eddie.....Keep it up!! Five days - four nights with an all inclusive package - perfectly manicure grounds and a beautiful natural ocean beach. Check in was a breeze. The only thing we need to do was to meet with the Transfer people by 12:00 PM (Olympic Tours) the follow day to confirm departure. Little did we know that the Hotel Staff was actively marketing a Vacation Time shares and deceptively represented themselves and the people we were supposed to meet with. They basically lied through misrepresentation. After being shanghaied to a different part of the resort property. We were presented with a high pressure pitch to purchase a vacation plan. We told the guy we were not interested and it was not in our budget. He promptly left us standing in the street. We walked back to our Hotel. The Tropical Resort property had many different restaurants on it, but unless you wanted to eat at a Buffet that was an experience in bland - overcooked - undercooked food...you had to make a "reservation". This meant you have to stand in line between 8-10 AM to snag on of the few spots available for "yellow bands". Lets me explain.... if you have a Black wrist band - you can walk into any restaurant at any time and eat. If you have a gold wristband - you have a priority reservation. A red wrist band - another privileged and then you have the yellow bands... the package we bought. The lowest life form on the Hotel Property. Unless you stand in line form 8:00 till 10 AM.. Wifi available for an extra charge... Room safe for an extra charge... Helicopter Take-off and Landings 10-20 times a day!! YOu became nervious and apprehensive about breaking a "rule" The Tropical - or I would just imagine any Life Style Resort now... was not a pleasant experience. We alway look for the half full cup - we just could not get to it this time. It was exhausting, humulating experience. I plan to finish the detailed narritive and cover the last two days of our experience for a wider distribution. Wow....what a way to spend a "vacation".
The trip was just ok. I traveled in March 2013 and stayed for 6 nights. Here's a list of how it went: - we checked in a little after 3pm (check in time) and told our room wasn't ready. However, after speaking with the Cheap Caribbean desk we were advised our room WAS ready and that we were upgraded to a junior suite. So that was great. - Our room was beautiful. King bed, two balconies, clean. Later we learned that we were located right next to the pool bar and were kept up until 3-4am each night by noise and other guests. Not the resorts fault, but a little annoying. - More often than not we had little to zero hot water and water pressure. Many showers were spent under trickling cold water. - We were given two restaurant reservations upon arrival (the first two nights we were there) and were unable to switch the restaurant, date or time and thus ate at the buffet the last 4 nights of our trip. Would've been nice to switch it up a little. - upon arrival to our second reservation (El Pilon), the woman at the host desk refused to seat us because we were not on her list. After a 5-10 minute struggle we insisted on seeing her list and found our names. We were promptly seated. The food was good. The service was good. - later that night I got severely sick and spent the next 36 hours alternating between the bed and the bathroom. Not great. - The medical office and front desk refused to acknowledge I had food poisoning and my boyfriend pleaded with them just to give him some sort of OTC medicine that would help settle my stomach. They finally did. And they sent up chicken noodle soup. That was nice. - We nick-named the resort "never never no-land" because we kept being told "no". They didn't have a volleyball for the volleyball court. No ping pong balls for ping pong. We found a volleyball and were told we couldn't play on the court because the restaurant beside it was getting ready for dinner. No, we don't refill your fridge with beer and soda. - The room service was good. Our room was always clean. But our towels were always missing and we had to track down maid service each day for towels and bottled water. - the VIP beach was great. Great service, great beds, great atmosphere, good food. - Ocean World was fun and close. - The resort was always very clean and neat. They powerwashed every morning and walking around barefoot was not ever of any concern. - We noticed a little bit of a caste system with regard to the color of your wristband - but that makes sense. They pay more. - The club, Ice was fun! Good music! - FINALLY - stay away from the vultures that try to give you "your welcome gift" and the tours. They are very aggressive and got very rude at some points. We made a game of dodging them after every meal. It was an OK vacation with some ups and downs. To be honest though, I wouldn't stay there again and I wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends.
Hubby and I spent 8 days at the Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I must say I was a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying "don't go" - in fact, I've already recommended this resort to family and friends - just go with your eyes wide open, knowing what you'll find once you get there. Be prepared to wait after arriving at the airport until all flights carrying fellow resort guests have landed. Then there's a 45 minute ride from the airport to the resort crowded with other travelers into aging tourist vans - and since everyone arrives at the resort all at once, there are long lines at check-in. You'll get a wrist bracelet that ID's you as a CheapCaribbean customer and gives you access to the VIP areas: Protect your wristband, because if it breaks or is lost it will cost you $100 to replace. The landscapes and buildings are very nice, the rooms average. Each room has a coffeemaker and fridge: Staff stocks the fridge with 2 local beers, 2 bottles of water, and 2 soft drinks each day. The bathrooms are tiny but efficient. Satellite TV service is intermittent, as is wi-fi internet service. First morning after you arrive, there's a mandatory (!) meeting with the resort representative. The purpose of the meeting is twofold: First, the meeting itself is all about selling local tours. The second purpose doesn't become clear until you leave the meeting: The minute you leave you're spotted by resort salespeople who will try repeatedly to get you to listen to a sales pitch for timeshares at the resort, offering you all kinds of goodies for doing so. Just say no...over and over again, even after the salesperson's last-ditch sales trick of telling you they'll only get paid for working if you'll listen. Eventually they'll leave you alone. Okay...so you didn't fly to the Caribbean to spend time in your room. This resort sits atop a hill overlooking a small bay, so head down long flights of stairs to the VIP beach - but do so early, because the VIP beach fills up fast. Not many people actually make it all the way down to the shore or into the water, either - people mostly hang out on the leveled "beach" area high above the actual shoreline, drinking. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you can find a seat. We spent a nice afternoon there, lucky enough to get one of the suspended beds to lie on. Or spend time in the pool area, closer to the top of the hill: The pools are quite lovely, with plenty of lounge chairs for sunbathing and lots of activities run by resort staff. The pool bar can get a bit crowded, especially on the swim-up side, but the pool bar staff never loses it's cool. Have a Coco Loco with no Madeira for me, OK? Yum. Now you're hungry. Food is where some of the frustration comes in. There's the central restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: It's your basic steam-table buffet set-up; but the food isn't bad, really, and the fresh-baked breads are exceptional. There's a new theme for dinner each night - American, Mediterranean, etc. - served along with the ubiquitous Caribbean rice and beans. Want to have dinner in one of the specialty restaurants instead? That means making reservations a day in advance by showing up at a desk in the lobby at 10am - and if you show up much later than that all available seats at your chosen restaurant are likely to filled, especially at the more popular restaurants. In 8 days, we managed to get dinner reservations at 2 of the restaurants: The Blue Lagoon (seafood/steak), which was overly pompous and generally unimpressive; and the Chinese restaurant, which had good food and really bad service. Service in general throughout the resort is a bit iffy, especially with housekeeping staff. A lot of the staff throughout the resort understand little English (much less German, French, Dutch, etc.) and speak even less, so they often have no idea what you might be asking for. Nice smiles, though. Other things to know: Be careful when shopping in the resort's shops. All items are priced in local currency - be aware of the current conversion rate (posted in the lobby) and ask the price of every item before you decide to buy it. Then do a quick mental calculation to figure out the ballpark price of your purchase(s) in USDollars: We were overcharged on purchases at the resort shops twice, and each time when I protested they suddenly reduced the charge with no apology or explanation for the error. Hmmm. Also: The weekend VIP party is fun - good food, good entertainment - but it's mainly just another chance for the resort to sell timeshares, this time to a captive audience since party-goers are transported from the resort to the party site by bus. And the next morning the resort sales force is active once again: We were approached twice that morning by timeshares salespeople while we were eating breakfast. So...was it fun? YES. Was it what I'd expected? NO. Would I go again? PROBABLY...this time knowing just what to expect.