The Lifestyle Holidays Resort is situated on the sandy beaches of Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic. This expansive, all-inclusive paradise is a resort that caters to its two types of vacationers: visitors and members.
VIP members have bought into an exclusive membership that entitles them to a certain amount of weeks during a 25 year period at a discount. These VIP members have access to member-only gourmet restaurants and a few private beach areas complete with staff standing by to accommodate their every request.
If you are not a member and only visiting, you don’t need to worry because there are plenty of eating options, pools and beach areas to choose from. Sure, the VIP areas are better (think more luxury!) but the other areas are beautiful as well.
We arrived at the resort after a 45 minute ride from the Puerta Plata Airport to a welcoming staff that immediately handed me a fruity drink as I checked in. Friendly staff AND a drink within 5 minutes of my arrival?!? I already like this place.
Check-in was quick and painless and we were shown to our room by a bellhop within 10 minutes. This is a type of place that they do not let you carry your own luggage so make sure you bring cash to tip accordingly. Believe me, it’s worth it!
We stayed in a two room suite for our week long visit that was big, beautiful and very accommodating. We had a full kitchen, a large sitting area with dining table and a very large bedroom complete with king size bed. There was more than enough drawer and closet space for all our clothes. Our particular unit had two full bathrooms and there was a wall that separated the main room from the bedroom which told me this could easily be a 1 bedroom and a studio.
There were two TVs in our room but only a handful of the channels were in English and one must have been running a “Myth Busters Marathon” because that is all that seemed to be on.
While the room was fabulous, the balcony was my favorite by far! This huge balcony extended the entire width of both rooms and included an outdoor love seat, chairs, a table a view of the entire little “village” area that we were staying in.
Since we were staying in the Presidential Suites area, our room had free WiFi access but we did hear that we were the only area on the property with this luxury.
When they say this is an “all-inclusive resort” they mean it includes food, drink (yes, alcohol too!) and use of all the pools, tennis courts and basketball courts. This does not include any excursions or water sports of any kind. Even though I read somewhere that use of kayaks and boogie boards were included that didn’t prove to be true.
There is a fitness center on property that includes a couple treadmills, elliptical machines and free weights but it is desperate need of an update.
There is also a small spa and areas throughout the resort that they offer massages (for a fee, course!).
The pools are all gorgeous and there are many throughout the resort so they never seem too crowded. All were sparkling clean and the perfect temperature – not too cold and not too hot.
There is an adult-only pool in the center of the property and a kid pool just down a set of stairs from that. The kid pool is complete with miniature lounge chairs, a waterfall, water fountain and water slide. This pool just happens to be just outside the Kids Club as well.
While we stayed close to our room at the very uncrowded Presidential Suites pool, we weren’t strangers to the pool Vodka bar over at the Confresi section of the resort. The Presidential Suites pool has fabulous water beds surrounding the pool but be prepared to set your alarm for 7am to secure one of the six poolside. Yes, people go to the pool and throw their stuff down to claim a poolside water bed before the pool even opens at 8am. Do they stay at the pool from 7am on?! Of course not. They throw down a bag and a towel as if they peed on it to mark their territory. Yes, we played along and I sent my husband down at 7am towards the end of the week to get one of these super cool beds with a giant umbrella that allowed us to sit in the sun when we wanted and cool off in the shade too.
There are many beaches areas both VIP and regular throughout the resort. The VIP beach areas have more luxury features such as a larger number of fancy sun beds and more padded sun loungers.
There are plenty of other space and chairs for the rest of the guests though. You will find hammocks, volleyball courts, ping pong tables and other activities throughout the area.
The actual beach area is okay but it wasn’t one of those white sand beaches that I anticipated.
There are a variety of sit-down restaurants throughout the property and a few buffets to choose from. We hit the main buffet “Casablanca” the first morning and I’m just going to say it wasn’t my favorite. That would prove to be our last visit to that buffet for the week.
The 2nd morning we figured out that the Blue Bayou was just steps from our room and that buffet was considerably better and less crowded. Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the buffets at the resort. The food was average at best and all the buffet food just seemed a little off to me.
Each night we had reservations (that were made all at one time during check-in) for one of the sit-down restaurants. Some of the restaurants are for members-only particular nights and other restaurants are open to everyone but you have to have reservations so make sure to make these early. The sit-down restaurants are hands-down superior to the buffets.
We visited Rodizio (Brazilian), Jazz, VIP Simply Gourmet, Blue Lagoon and Bellini. While Rodizio was our least favorite of the group, Jazz was our favorite with the VIP Simply Gourmet being a close second. Of course, our two favorite restaurants are two of the VIP-only places. I guess it is good to be VIP at Lifestyle Holidays because it is clearly the best food. The other restaurants were average and even if we didn’t particularly like a specific item, the staff was willing and prepared to go above and beyond to fix it.
The staff is what makes this resort luxury. Like I said, they are prepared to go above and beyond for their guests whether you are a VIP or not. Most are local Dominican Republic residents and they are very accommodating and friendly. While some have very broken English (it is the Dominican Republic after all, so this I expected!), they were always smiling and willing to find someone to help if they didn’t understand.
Our daily housekeeper kept our room perfect and even surprised us with things like loose flower pedals decorating our bathroom floor mat when we returned.
Ricardo was our daily bartender at the Bourbon Street Bar outside of our building and poolside and was always friendly and greeted us smile and a huge “HOLA, AMIGOS!” when we stopped by each night.
While I would go on a limb to say that this resort caters more to a couples crowd, there are plenty of things for kids to do. A Kids Club in the Confresi section of the property opens each day from 9am-5pm to host 4 to 12 year olds with scheduled activities with a staff to child ratio of 1:10. All the employees in the Kids Club are CPR certified and required to attend a refresher course every 12 months. When a parent drops off a child, they are required to include in the paperwork where they will be in case of an emergency and whether their child can swim well enough to swim in the pool. We were happy to hear that there is always a second activity available during swim time that kids can participate in if they can’t swim.
Every Monday and Friday they take the kids horseback riding on the beach and on Wednesdays is a planned visit to Ocean World, the local marine-themed amusement park. Other Kid Club activities includes movies, crafts and swim time.
Parents can check their kids into and out of the Kids Club throughout the day but if your kids are there at lunchtime the staff will take them to the buffet to eat.
We were happy to see that all the restaurants had high chairs for the little ones and there was usually something to find on the menu that was somewhat kid-friendly. We imagine that the staff would go above and beyond to whip up something special such as plain noodles if a child didn’t care for anything on the menu. The buffets have hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and ice cream for kids to enjoy but if your child likes a particular snack, I encourage you to pack quite a few of those snacks in your luggage.
This isn’t one of those resorts with lifeguards at the pool or playgrounds around every corner. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t a single playground on the property, hence my assumption that they cater to couples. The beach is okay but it’s not one of those shell collecting beaches that could keep kids busy for hours. There wasn’t one shell in sight.
The Lifestyle Holidays Resort in Puerta Plata is a gorgeous property that I think would be best for a couples getaway, baby moon or girls/guys trip. The food and the atmosphere is geared toward adults but we found plenty of parents visiting with their kids who told us they would definitely be returning with the family.
We had a wonderful visit and loved that the staff was so friendly and accommodating. If you decide to visit make sure you grab a reservation at the Jazz Restaurant, hit the pool early if you want one of those cool pool beds and if you want to stay in the less crowded area (with WiFi!) stay in the Presidential Suites.
To watch our sneak peek of what you’d find at the Lifestyle Holidays Resort, click our video below: