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“One star” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort

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Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Calle Campo Elias, Valle de Pedro Gonzalez 1 | Sector El Pueblito. Playa Puerto Cruz, Pedro Gonzales, Margarita Island 2000, Venezuela   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 2 hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Kitchener, ON
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“One star”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Quite a disappointment. I have stayed at many all inclusives - this is my first negative experience. Pools were dirty. Food was very bland - watermelon and melon were the only fresh fruit we saw! Beef was tough - 8 out of 9 of us got montezuma's revenge. We were in the premium section - we were convinced it was the standard section as it was falling apart. Once we saw the standard section we knew we were lucky to have what we had.
Best to make lemonade with lemons - the weather was great, we met some great people and enjoyed ourselves on the beach.
Nolitours should drop this one from their list.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

I was at this resort with my family from January 1st to January 8th 2013; I will not recommend this place to anyone. This is more like a 3 stars hotel, instead of 5 stars as advertised, very far from what you expect of a 4-5 star hotel. As soon as we got there we had problems, the room that they gave us had a water leak on the bathroom roof (room 1714) and there was water all over the place, you could immediately see that the maintenance of the rooms was very poor. As expected I went to the reception to complaint and get a new room upgrade to a junior suite or something, even if I had to pay a difference for it. I was shocked by the answer I got from the clerk at the reception (that was when I realized that instead of relaxing and enjoying our vacation it was going to be the opposite). “There was no more rooms available and I will have to wait”, no apologies, no let me see what I can do, no we are sorry we will make it up to you etc. I was traveling with a 10 month baby and I had to fight to get a new room basically. The new room they showed me the 1st day was smaller and far away from all areas (pool, beach, restaurants etc) therefore I declined, to make the story short it took me two days to get a new room that was acceptable, but it was not easy. There are two sections in the resort, one (the old area closer to main complex/lobby) which has the standard rooms, beautiful from the outside, and the new area with small square buildings which has the “premium” rooms, I noticed the service and facilities were a bit better in the premium area, but still far from a 5 star rating hotel. Customer Service in this hotel is really poor, you had to wait for everything, staff was very rude, even when you complaint there was no change, I heard several times staff in the restaurants tell people “you just have to wait!” in a very rude manner. Or when you asked for something they will tell you “not me, ask him or her”. Twice I got stopped by this sales representatives walking around trying to sell timeshares, they asked how was my stay, when I told them the issues, they just said that I should talk to a manager in the reception nothing else, again, no apologies, no let me see how can we help, let me bring you to the manager, let me take note of that, nothing..... One actually keep trying to sell me this stuff, I told her do you really think after what I’m experiencing here I will buy a timeshare? I could go on with all the experiences we had but I still just summarize some main points below:
- Standard rooms are like motel rooms, old furniture, dirty, maintained poorly, the 1st room I had besides having the water leak, the phone and TV remote control did not work, the bathrooms were all patched up on all the rooms I saw
- In General the place was not very clean, the big pool in the main complex was disgusting, and the water was almost yellow. Public bathrooms as well, they smelled and were dirty, I think McDonald's’ bathrooms are cleaned better that these.
- Restaurant in the main complex/lobby area was as well dirty most of the time, lots of flies, there is no air conditioning, and it was unpleasant to eat there. Once we asked to change the tablecloth cause it was so filthy , we were told “oh that’s the tablecloth for the day”, my wife got so mad, that she told the lady: “so if a spill a coke or a soup all over you won’t change it, cause it is the tablecloth of the day!!?? They looked at us like we were from mars but finally change it (therefore we ate most of the time in the tilapia restaurant in the premium area which has air-conditioning and service was a bit better)
- Restaurant in the beach area was dirty and service was horrible we went there only once.
- Food was bad, there is no variety, always the same over and over, they just change little things here and there, only breakfasts were ok
- Customer Service was the worst of all, I’ve been to several places in the Caribbean (Rivera Maya, Cancun, Jamaica etc) and you can’t compare, here staffs are rude, unhappy and they make you feel like you are bothering them. I only saw twice managers working and managing staff, and this not surprisingly in the premium area.
- There are barely no activities organized for entertainment, besides a pool aerobic dance in the afternoon and the night shows, which are always late and not according to the schedule
- Bars were ok but no variety on drinks always the same
- Beach is beautiful but not for kids, big rough waves, there are no lifeguards on the beach only in the pool, one day actually there was an incident were a guy almost drown and they had to call the lifeguard from the pool to get him out, if it wasn’t for another tourist that was brave enough to go in before the lifeguard got there, they poor guy will almost be certainly dead, they had to take him to the red cross.
Bottom line, it’s a beautiful place but it’s a shame how is being managed. I will personally never comeback nor, I recommended it, even if you stay in the Premium area. When you go on vacation you expect to forget about everything, relax and enjoy your time, unfortunately this was not the case for me or my family due to the many issues we had.

Room Tip: Premium Rooms only stay away from the standard area close to the main complex/lobby
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reykjavik
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We too traveled Nolitours and I must say many of the comments were pretty right on.

The Good. Beach was great....we swam every day in the ocean and loved the big waves. The main pool also was excellent....not too hot.....big, fun volleyball net. The place did not "nickle and dime" you, as there was lots to do....shoot pool, Foosball, ping pong, tennis....all no charge. Rooms in the Premium section were ok....all the bars were great...they didn't skimp on the drinks and were pleasant. There were shows and night clubs but we didn't go. Our Nolitour rep was great....I forget her name....a Russian drink, but she was very caring. Free loungers and mats on the beach and at the pool. Great banquet on New Year's eve. I also liked the fact that we walked alot as we stayed in the Premium section....we chose not to take the shuttle.

The bad. The food by in large sucked. Learn how to make something other than pancakes! Try french toast or fry up some bacon. Lunch was a bit better, burgers, fries, dogs...and dinner....sucked again except for the pasta bars....but every night? Nachos at lunch time were great. They should have had nachos at all of the bars....

The ugly....nothing really. Change $ for 17 B's to the dollar. Book excursions on the beach and negotiate....at least $20 -30 cheaper and we had no issues.

All in all, very worthwhile, and yes good value.

Room Tip: Don't eat yellow snow
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

We booked this trip 4 days before Christmas cause we wanted to run from Canada's cold weather.
After a 5 hours flight and 1 hour drive from Porlamar Airport we arrived at Dunes. The first room we've got (a Standard one) was a disaster so we changed right away. Old furniture, moisture, small window. The second one, still a Standard had, a least, a balcony and was a little brighter. Next day we've tried an upgrade and we got Premium room. That was a completely different picture. So go Premium!
PROs:
-clean big pools
-great gardens
-perfect temperature
-big waves on the beach, perfect for a good swimmer
-nice 'tuna steak' on the beach restaurant
-nightly show
-I loved the Safari trip (La Restinga parc is nice)
-good tennis court

CONs
-big waves makes the ocean almost impracticable for kids
-almost no respect of the schedule for all activities: movie at 16:30, cancelled but no notice... every activity is 'mas o menos' respected, most of the time 15-20 min late
-shows are late : kids show starts at 21:00
-for New Year, there was no planning. People waiting outside before 19:00 and running to occupy a table
-the beach is public, so the access from the hotel is closed after 17:00 (gate is locked)
-no activity during the day at the kids club
-everybody is talking about how unsafe Venezuela is so be prepared for everything
-at the airport they check every luggage so is looooong and boring

Room Tip: Go for a Premium, the Regular room is terrible and 6 US/day/person it can be the difference between...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

We have just returned to Toronto from Dunes Resort, Margarita Island after a week’s stay. Here is what we found. We travelled with Nolitours and had a very good deal on a late booking. We stayed in a Standard room, two adults and a teenager. The hotel is about one hour from the airport in Porlamar, very close to the town of Juan Griego on the North shore of the island. The flight on December 19th was full with most of the travellers staying at Dunes.

This one is not a 4 star resort as indicated in most advertisements. May have been a 4 star resort 10 years ago, but in my opinion now it barely makes 3 star. The resort has two sections, the Standard which is the older, and a more newer Premium section. The older, Standard Section rooms are closer to the main reception & lobby, the pools, most bars and more importantly the beach. This section is attractive, the rooms are built in units which resemble 30’s Spanish architecture and area is beautifully landscaped. The premium section consists of two rows of rectangular boxes, extremely unattractive, as one previous reviewer had said, looks like designed by a Soviet era Stalinist architect. An observation I totally agree with. There is a small swimming pool, a bar, and a buffet restaurant in this area so that people who stay in the Premium rooms do not have to go to the main section of the hotel if they did not wish to do so. The whole resort complex is very large and there is a shuttle service that almost continuously goes around the complex, and you don’t have to wait more than 5 to 10 minutes to get a shuttle move from one area to another.

The rooms. Since we stayed in a standard room, this is all about the Standard rooms. Our room was large and clean but looked very much its age. The furniture is old and you see bits and pieces falling apart. The room contains a small fridge and an eighties style TV with a CRT tube. TV mostly has Spanish channels with CNN and BBC being the only English channels available. AC was pretty good, it was constant battle with the housekeeping staff who kept turning it down to Canadian winter temperatures while we were trying to keep it up.

The bathroom was something else. It was small, which really wasn't a problem, but it was old and patched up, with old tiles replaced in places and repair jobs very clear to see. Shower, when opened, sprayed water in every direction from pin-hole leaks in the piping. You could see mould staring to grow in certain places. Not that the bathroom was dirty, but it looked pretty aged and poorly maintained.

We thought hard about upgrading to a Premium Room, which was possible, but decided not to as we were not planning to stay in our room most of the time and also because the standard rooms are much closer to the beach, pool and other major facilities in the complex. A number of people who originally were booked in to standard rooms decided to change to Premium after seeing the rooms.

Next the food. There are there two main buffet restaurants, one in the main lobby complex, close to the Standard rooms and one in the Premium section. Then there is a restaurant for lunch on the beach, and a la-carte restaurant that you could use once a week with prior reservation. The food in all of these was very bland most of the time with only a limited choice. Having travelled in the Caribbean to many countries and hotels in the last five years, this was the least tasting food that we have had, that includes Cuba. The buffet restaurant in the main lobby looks very aged and depressing with low light and old furniture. We elected to take our meals in the buffet in the Premium section simply because the place looks better and is air conditioned. The beach restaurant serves things like hamburgers and pizza, but again the pizza tasked like cardboard. The drinks at the various were the same. The beer was lighter than light, other cocktails all tasted watery. On the Christmas eve, the hotel put up a special buffet in the main reception area with a larger selection of food and a live band.

By the end of the week’s stay many people that we had got to know there had mild stomach complaints which probably reflect the general state of the restaurants. Our son was one of the unfortunate ones, although in his case it probably was not the hotel that was responsible as we had been on an all-day excursion the previous day and had eaten at a beach restaurant and had drank water and juice with ice cubes, which probably were the culprits. One good demonstration of the hotel service came out of this unfortunate episode. My son started to have severe stomach cramps in the morning and after trying the medication that we carried I decide to seek hotel’s help. I went and talked to the Nolitours rep and by the time I returned to the room, the nursing staff was already in our room and preparing to put our son on an IV drip. Within an hour a fully qualified doctor was at his bed with the medication that he needed. All this service, with the house call by the doctor and the prescription medication that he carried, cost us the pricey sum of 62 US dollars! Talk about inexpensive medical services. And very fortunately my son fully removed in a day and was able to enjoy the rest of his vacation.

So what are the nicer features of this place? The main pool is huge – one of the largest that I have seen in a resort. The L-shaped pool includes a deep end of more than 10 feet. There are lifeguards on duty throughout the day. The beach at the hotel is breathtakingly beautiful. A long sandy beach, bookended by two low hills on either side. There is shade on the beach and enough beach chairs most of the time. In Venezuela all beaches are public and this one is no exception. So there are vendors and trinket sellers on the beach but generally they were polite enough that when you said no, they would leave you alone. One of the highlights of the stay was a massage on the beach, under the palm trees listening to the ocean. It cost less than 10 dollars for a session of 45 minutes. The waves at this beach are really strong, some as high as 10 feet during our stay. Good for boogie boarding and surfing but really not recommended for swimming as there is a very strong under tow here.

The sport complex has many pool tables and ping-pong tables. There are tennis courts, basket ball and soccer facilities. You get Nightly entertainment shows and a night club. This resort appears to be very popular destination for local tourists from Caracas, which is the capital of Venezuela. We were told that local air line seats from Caracas to MI get sold out by September for the December holiday season. My impression was the hotel was 80% full with the locals with the rest being Canadians from Toronto and Montreal. We met no Europeans, which was another surprise as one meets them pretty much everywhere in the Caribbean.

There are many out of the resort excursions available, both through the hotel or your tour operator and through outside tour companies. In most cases they cost significantly less if you buy from outside. We used Magic Tours and were fully satisfied with their service. The tour of the island by a 4x4 jeep is an interesting one gives a nice overview of the island with a very good lunch at a beach restaurant, the best food I have tasted on this vacation. We also went snorkeling at Los Frailes Island, which is about a 30-45 minutes boat ride from Plays El Agua (10 minutes from Dunes Resort). The reef there was better that what I had experienced in Cuba or in Dominican. They had real beer, not the coloured water that is served as beer at the hotel! This one is highly recommended. One tour that we really wanted to do but could not, was the day trip to Angel Falls. This one involves a 1.5 hour flight to angel Falls from MI and only a limited number of places are available each day as the plane is an 18 seater. Hence you have to book in advance to get a seat, especially during the holiday season.

Finally, a word about public security in MI. One hears a lot of bad stories and the resort staff really emphasizes that you should not be walking into nearby towns and villages with cameras hanging from your neck and wearing expensive watches or jewellery. We heard of one incident where somebody from the hotel was robbed at the far remote end of the beach. My feeling is that use common sense and you should be OK. One thing to remember, very few people here speaks or understands English. Surprisingly this is the case even within the resort. So I would recommend that if you venture out, try to go with someone who can communicate with the locals. One of the vacationers from Toronto had gone to the KFC place in the nearby town of Pedro Gonzalez. He wanted to order something to eat and could not as no one there could speak English and they refused to take his order.

So in summary, what are my overall impressions? A superb location, an ageing resort with pretty dismal food. On the whole we enjoyed our stay, despite the shortcomings. Will I recommend this place to my friends? Probably not, if I do, it will be with very clear warnings as to what to expect.

Room Tip: The Premium rooms are newer and are in better condition. The Standard rooms are older, poorly mainta...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

My boyfriend and I booked this hotel as we thought we needed a few days of luxury whilst on our travels around South America. After reading reviews about the hotel we thought this place would be perfect. When we arrived it was quite late at night and it felt like the taxi was driving for ages to get from the gate to the main reception. Once checked in we had to take a shuttle bus to our area of the hotel as it is huge. Everywhere is walking distance however it’s a fair distance to walk with cases. We reserved a premier room as they had no standard rooms available. When we were shown to our room I struggled to understand what was premier about it as it just looked like any ¾ star hotel room I have stayed in before. We started to settle in and I could see that the pillow cases on our bed were dirty. Reception were great though and sent someone around straight away although this is not something you expect from a 5 star hotel. Rooms are cleaned daily and the maid leaves a new 1.5lt bottle of water in your room. The buffet breakfast wasn’t the best I have at an all inclusive hotel however you can always find something plus they make freshly made omelettes, empanadas and pancakes on request. Lunch and dinner were quite tasty although there wasn’t a huge choice to choose from. Saying that I always found something I liked and even went up for seconds on occasions. The beach restaurant also offers pizzas in addition to the buffet selection so if you get bored you can eat something different. The bar service can sometimes be slow especially at the beach bar. The beach itself is quite nice. The water was clear and warm and you could walk all the way to the end and explore along the rocks if you like that kind of thing. There is an evening show every night which is fairly entertaining but after the show the club opens and this is great for salsa dancing with a great dj. The daytime entertainment seems good as well although I did not join in. The main pool is HUGE and very deep but the water was very warm and not as refreshing as you’d like especially when it is hot and humid. Lastly there are lots of free pool and table tennis tables to play on. I thought this was great as I love to have a game or two. Overall I enjoyed myself here but if you are expecting luxury then go somewhere else!

Room Tip: The aircon in the room cannot be adjusted and it some times felt cold. If you feel the cold at night...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bilbao, Spain
Top Contributor
159 reviews 159 reviews
156 hotel reviews
Reviews in 104 cities Reviews in 104 cities
306 helpful votes 306 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

This hotel is not a great place. The building is rather old and has an air of a soviet military base. The rooms are very basic although the ones in the premium part are indeed cleaner.
The food is not very tasty and I found the choice of fruit very limited. For some reasons, the drinks are served in plastic cups everywhere. I can recommend lunches at the beach restaurant.
The swimming pool is large and pretty but the water in it is rather dirty.
The beach can compensate for the hotel’s imperfection, but then again, I kept wishing the place were nicer. It is possible to rent a car and drive around – they say it can be dangerous, but I guess I was lucky. Canaima Park is a must.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort

Address: Calle Campo Elias, Valle de Pedro Gonzalez 1 | Sector El Pueblito. Playa Puerto Cruz, Pedro Gonzales, Margarita Island 2000, Venezuela
Location: Venezuela > Insular Region > Coastal Islands > Margarita Island > Pedro Gonzales
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort 3.5*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Dunes Hotel And Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel Margarita
Dunes Resort All Inclusive Beach
Dunes Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort Margarita Island, Venezuela

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