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“Overall a great escape”

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 41 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Lake Country, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Overall a great escape”
Reviewed 15 March 2012

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:

Target Audience:
This resort clearly skews to the older crowd. The gray hairs outnumbered us by 10 to 1. Limited appeal for my daughters.

Rooms:
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.

Beach:
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).

Service:
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.

Entertainment:
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.

Excursions:
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.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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3 Thank BonitaConchita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Simcoe, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 March 2012

Stayed here Mar 5-12, 2012. Arrived very late after a long travel day (1:30am). 15 minute bus ride from the airport. Check-in was painless, all paperwork was done and waiting for us on our arrival. Only negative is I would have liked to have had some food and drink available. Main buffet closes at 10, sausage cart and draft beer available until 1 am. Stayed in the Catalina wing, second floor, overlooking the main pool. Room was very nice, 2 double beds, AC worked great, updated bathroom, overall room was clean and functional. Balcony overlooked the pool. Room is noisy at night while the entertainment is on but quiet from 11pm on. Quite enjoyed the location overlooking the pool, and the pros outweighed the cons for sure. Great maid service, clean sheets and towels daily, I was leaving a $3 US tip daily. No bugs anywhere on this resort, inside or out! The beachfront is beautiful, best in the area. Lots of palapas and loungers, beach is busy right in front of the resort but lots of room on the fringes. Snorkelling is pretty good right in front of the hotel. Lots of coral that holds the fish, best snorkelling is at low tide. Bread and bananas really attract the fish. Wear footwear of some kind when snorkelling or walking the coral flats at low tide as urchins live in the crevices and their spines are sharp. The pool area is great, lots of loungers to be had at any time of day although the ones with umbrellas go early, and believe me you will want some shade at some point of the day. Food is pretty good overall. My favorite a-la-carte was the Italian, but as much for the open air patio location as the food. The buffet is every bit as good as the a-la-cartes. Meat carving station with something different every night along with a grill offering. The usual buffet choices fill in the rest. Would have liked more seafood, ie shrimp, scallops, lobster, conspicuously absent all week. Usually some sort of fish breaded, poached, baked, sauced, was offered and salmon was grilled one night. Coffee here is great any time of day ! Beach grill is really good for a quick lunch. pizza, burgers, nachos. etc. You can get a drink anywhere all day long within a minute walk of wherever you are on the resort. Only drawback for me was I am a beer drinker and the only choice was Presidente draft. Its ok but the draft is never as cold as you want it. Not much point filling your bubba mug with beer that goes warm before you can drink it all. The wine is not the best either (served from plastic jugs), but its amazing what you can aquire a taste for over the course of a week. Beach peddlers can be a pain but I found they really only pestered those who bought something. Tip-if you don't want to be pestered, don't buy anything. Resort overall is pretty laid back. If you are looking for non stop entertainment this place is not for you. The evening shows are amateurish, but enthusiastic. Peurto Plata is worth seeing. Hire a local cab, lots waiting outside the hotel gates. Try to find an english speaking driver and/or guide. We hired a cab for 4 hours, cost us $60.00 US total for our group of 4 ($40.00 driver and English speaking guide($20.00). Told them we wanted to see it all and they obliged, finished off with a great meal at an open air restaurant on the waterfront. There are lots of repeat guests at this place so they must be doing something right.

Pros- cleanliness, rooms and grounds, nice pool and swim up bar, large beach, good snorkelling and swimming, food, 15 min from airport, compact grounds,
Cons- lack of 24 hour food/beverage, no bottled premium beer/wine,

Room Tip: there is a separate wing and pool to this resort that is off on its own for those who prefer a quiet...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank DLW_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beamsville, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2012

Just returned from a fabulous week in Puerto Plata at Gran Ventana. This resort caters to all age categories in the Playa Dorado area which is a gated community located about 20 minutes from the airport. Another ten minutes and you are in the city of Puerto Plata.

The staff at the resort are amazing. Customer service rocks here. If you have a problem, they will fix it! Then sit back and enjoy the drinks, the food, the beach, the activities and the entertainment. Do not miss Tuesday night!!! MICHAEL JACKSON lives on at the Gran Ventana.

Special thanks to Juana Guzman, our lovely maid. Management should give her a special treat. She is a real gem!!

We will be back next year for sure!!

Chris March 4 - 11, 2012

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Pudgy_59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chilliwack B.C.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2012

We stayed in this resort with 3 other couples. Mar 2-9. Each had rooms in various locations in the Catalina building. Rooms were dated and bed was solid but wife and I slept fine every night. Food was fine with the buffet varying each time we were there. Ate at al a cartes 4 times and enjoyed all of them. Service was good, wait service at the pool would have been nice but our group alone would have kept him occupied, never mind the rest of the vacationers. Booked a couple of excursions, one to the countryside to meet some school kids and see the sights....seemed like a cash grab to me as every stopped seemed to be for our chance to buy something. The other trip was to the waterfalls....I was skeptical at first but the trip was great....exciting and SAFE. Carlos our guide was top notch and spoke very good english.
Given the chance to return , we wouldn't hesistate, but our plan is to visit as many different places while we can, so don't think it will happen. Crowd wasn't young partiers, we are 30-40's partiers and it was fine for us.

Room Tip: Our group had ground, second and third floor rooms with no major complaints. I prefer above ground p...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Soccerrocker2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2012

I stayed here for a week in Feb 2011. Overall I enjoyed my stay, and have very few complaints.
Food: Pretty good overall, they tried to make some variety. There was always at least a few things that were good, desserts were good. The a la cartes - there were three, the itialian one I really enjoyed; the other two were so-so, but I think I just made bad choices in my order as my spouse's meals were much better than mine.
Entertainment: the pool staff try hard to get you to participate in the daily activities, so there's always something to do if you want. The evening entertainment was ok most nights, sometimes a bit cheesy but still fun.
Beach: the beach was nice, there isn't a lot of water that does not have coral underneath so you can't really "swim" you just kind of can wade in knee deep water. The people walking around selling stuff are kind of annoying but you just have to say a firm "no thanks". You really won't get a lounger/umbrella on the beach unless you go out super early in the morning and save one(we tried at 8AM and they were all taken) ....so we didn't spend much time on the beach and hung out by the pool instead (you still have to go in the morning to save a lounger but not quite as early).
Cleanliness: overall the resort was clean. Our rooms were clean however we did not get very good maid service....we had to call almost everyday for towels as they left like one of each everytime, not enough for two people. One day they left zero towels/hand towels/face cloths for us and we had to call twice to get enough towels for two people. One time we called for towels and they brought us a bath mat and two hand towels. The maid kind of snickered at us everytime we had to call for something. We did tip too so I don't know what her problem was.
Staff: reception, restaraunt, pool staff were all very friendly and eager to help. Maid staff as I said above was not impressed with (maybe we just got stuck with one with attitude, and others might be better?).
Rooms: our room was a standard king size. Fairly big, bed was a bit hard but fairly comfy, pillows kind of sucked, balcony was nice. We stayed in the older part of the resort (by the quiet pool). The noise in the hallways really carries in the morning so it was hard to sleep in, not that we really wanted to sleep too late.
Overall, I would stay here again, not for more than a week though, it gets a bit repetitive and boring after a week.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank TravelGirlCda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

Property: VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Address: Playa Dorada | PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price range (per night): $146 - $462
Hotel Class:4 star — VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 506
Reservation Options:
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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

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