I booked the Gran Ventana as a last minute get away during reading break (Feb 17-24) for me and my daughters (18&20). We typically go to the Mayan at this time of year but found it to be cost prohibitive during the reading break week so we ventured to somewhere new. The trip was great value and overall a good time was had by all. A few points to consider:
This resort clearly skews to the older crowd. The gray hairs outnumbered us by 10 to 1. Limited appeal for my daughters.
The first night we were at the back of resort and there was a nightclub directly across the street that was not part of the resort. The club music played very loudly until 5:30am. I had a pillow over my head and I could still hear/feel the base from the music. No sleep was had the first night. I requested a move at the front desk the next morning and in spite of the resort being very busy, they were able to accommodate. We got a nice quite room, a bit smaller and with beds that were a bid harder, but it was worth the sacrifice.
Fine golden sand. Clean. A bit of a shortage of lounge chairs….if you don’t get down there by 8am you won’t get a chair. They say that you can’t reserve chairs but they don’t enforce it at the beach. Decent snorkeling right in front of the resort. Early morning or late afternoon for best fish viewing. Take a banana out with you and you will have a big following of fish. Beach vendors can get a bit annoying.
Food & Drink:
I always find all inclusive resort buffet food to be bland….what do they have against garlic?!?! This resort was no different. Decent variety and freshness. The lunches at the beach buffet were good. All the ala carte restaurants were a slight improvement with the Surf and Turf at the Grille being our favorite meal. No food after 10 unless you count the hot dog cart. Good coffee (if you like it strong that is). Drinks at the bar were a bit inconsistent…no 2 bartenders mixed them the same. Red wine was typically bad (the fact it was poured out of a large plastic bottle should have been my first clue).
Friendly and generally good. Front desk staff were great. They seemed a bit overwhelmed at the buffet trying to keep up with clearing and setting tables. Usually had to go find my own water/beverages.
The Animation team were great. Really friendly and working hard to make sure everyone was having a good time. I don’t actually know that I would classify any of the “shows” they did in the evenings as entertainment. The kids show that proceeded the main show each night was very repetitive….after hearing the same songs every night for a week it got a bit old for both the adults and I am sure the kids as well. The place was pretty well shut down by midnight so anyone seeking late night entertainment would have to go off resort to Coco Bongo or Hemingway’s (only a short walk away). The kids also walked down the beach about 20 min to where the Orange Market is during the day and found a beach party they said was fun.
If you are fit and fearless and looking for adventure I HIGHLY recommend the 27 waterfalls excursion. Probably the highlight of our trip. Not for the faint of heart. We also took a local bus ($2 each) to Playa Encuentro (it was about a 40 min bus ride) and took a group surfing lesson for $40 each. http://www.cabaretesurfcamp.com/en/surfing.html There is a shuttle that goes from Cabarete to the surf beach at Playa Encuentro three times a day. Since we did not go with the shuttle and got there on our own we were able to stay after the 2 hour lesson and keep the surf boards and play around in the surf for a few more hours….until we were too tired to drag the boards out against the current for one more ride. Rivaled the waterfalls as a highlight of the trip. The only downside of making our own way to the beach was having to walk back up to the highway in the afternoon heat to catch a bus home. The dip in the resort pool was particularly refreshing that day.
86 degrees and sunny every day. A 4 book holiday. Generally we found the Dominican people to be very friendly (the men in general were maybe just a bit too friendly when it came to my 2 beautiful daughters). I would recommend Puerto Plata and the Gran Ventana for sure.
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Ventana Beach Hotel
- Gran Ventana Dominican Republic
- Gran Ventana Puerto Plata
- Gran Ventana Beach Resort Puerto Plata
- Hotel Gran Ventana Beach
- Grand Ventana Beach Resort
- Gran Ventana Hotel Dominican Republic