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“dia del trabajo - Labour Day!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Dorada | PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 41 hotels in Puerto Plata
orangeville, ontario
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“dia del trabajo - Labour Day!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2012

GV was fantastic once again but if you are planning a long weekend or 7 day visit, avoid the dates close to 1st May. It is the weekend where the resorts are all full of Dominicans. The employers pay the resorts & the lovely resort becomes totally inundated with hundreds of Dominicans. The average Dominican earns very little money & could not afford to stay at a resort so they really go overboard!!! The buffet restaurant was extremely busy & we felt very sorry for the staff who had to work extra hard & absolutely hate this time of year. Luckily, their stay did not include eating in the a la carte restaurants.

Now for the good points. We met some amazing people once again as we think of the GV as our second home. Hi to Morar & Chandrita, the young ladies from Brighton, David & his Mum, Jilly & Mike, Bernadette & her husband - all from U.K. Hi also to the lovely family from Haliburton and the couple from New York.

Once again the food was excellent and the resort very clean. GV's beach is the best in the Playa Dorada complex & is always clean. It is the only beach which is raked early in the morning. During the first week the palapas were reserved very early but the second week it was quieter (except for Labour Day weekend) & we had no problem. The staff are very friendly & work extremely hard. Maria, Dominga, Danilsa, Raol, Manny & the entertainment staff you are the greatest. We have stayed at GV very many times and for the past two years, it has been twice yearly for two weeks each time. We have met many guests who have stayed there over 20 times which should speak for itself. It is the only resort where we have returned a second time to find it just as good & that is why we will continue returning & enjoying. Yes, we have stayed at 5 star resorts which were fancier but not cleaner and certainly not the same value for money.

We were disappointed with our SunWing rep. who made some strange comments like - the kitchens in the a la cartes were the same as the buffet restaurant & that the food was the same which was total nonsense. He seemed more interested in selling his trips than actually giving out info. especially to the new guests. Too bad that we don't have Silvia, the Thomson rep. who was always friendly.

If you want an affordable sun holiday at a family orientated resort with good food, good beach location and clean rooms, the Gran Ventana is for you.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (552)
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English first
East Sussex, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2012

We stayed for 12 nights here, and had a really nice time. We were on our honeymoon, and showed the lovely guy on reception our certificate for him to photocopy. He did give us VIP green bracelets, and told us we could have a meal on the beach. He didnt mention the free upgrade to a junior suite (subject to availability) and we were quite surprised when we discovered our room had twin beds in it! Errrr....
The room was very damp, and the smell was quite pungent. With the help of our great Thomson rep, we managed to change rooms to a king size room.

For an all inclusive, the food was great! They clearly cater for all tastes, although I was a little disappointed there wasnt more Caribbean dishes. However we ate at the Caribbean A la Carte and the chicken crepe to start was gorgeous, and my waiter was great when I asked for my main chicken curry to be spicy! Yum.

The waiting staff in the buffet areas were lovely, and they soon remember your preferences, and we had one chap topping our white wine up non stop. Likey.

We also had the experience of the locals staying over the weekend, and yes it was chaos, but I quite liked it! They clearly know how to enjoy themselves, and it was refreshing to see so many people laughing, wooing, whistling, as the English people who never ventured further than the pool, looked miserable most of the time!! We met a nice couple from Canada who were seasoned to the resort, and felt quite sad when they left! (Hello btw!)

With the beach, yes there are sellers, and you will love them or hate them. A very friendly lot who spent hours in the baking sun trying to sell you stuff. There was one exception - a guy who looked like he didnt work at the resort trying to sell us horse riding. Really creepy, and his whole personality changed when I mentioned how thin the horses were. My only criticism of the beach would be the sheer amount of cigarette butts littering the sand, especially under the straw parasols.

With the trips, we did the Paradise Island, and I wasnt expecting how choppy the sea was, and how scared I was in the speed boat which transported you to the island. I even cried! (the shame) if you are nervous in choppy water - sit at the back next to the driver where the impact is less. When we got to the island the sea was to choppy for snorkelling which was a real shame, as we'd really looked forward to it! The sky was grey so we just hung around, waiting for the journey home in the white knuckle ride boats! Bit disappointing really.
The dolphin trip was great though and I wont ever forget it. Paid $40 for a disc with 5 photos on it of us with the dolphins! Strewth. Had to be done I guess.

Just a wee thing, my wife wanted a towel in the shape of a swan like on their website! (not one in 12 days, even after hoping a $10 tip one morning would suffice!) Never mind, I will learn how to do it at home for her!

Just a few tips - take loads of $1 bills for tipping as you wont get any changed from the cashier! But sometimes the bar tenders can change your larger notes from their tip cups.
If you want a parasol - be prepared to go down to the beach as early as 4am to place your towels on the beds underneath! Crazy.
Make sure you pack plenty of toiletries as the on site shop charges 5 times what you would pay at home. I paid $2 for a tiny packet of 37p M&Ms. Also paid $10 for 10 tampons!!!!!!!!!!!!! Outrageous.

All in all, we had a canny time, and it was made even better when we hooked up with an amazing family from Cheltenham who made us laugh so much it hurt.

I couldnt fault the staff - waiters, chefs, towel changers, maids, were all lovely, although there were one or two reception staff who would benefit from some sort of customer service training! Smile wouldnt go a miss. But hey....

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
leyburn
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2012

We holiday at the G.Ventana twice a year for a 3 weeks stay each time.This and the many other
repeat guests we meet there must speak for itself about the G.Ventana.We were there Feb/Mar.
the hotel was very busy so buffet and resturants also busy but we never had any problems with food or service in any of them.The buffet always had agood selection of food something to suit all tastes we always came away well satisfied.We also ate at the 3 other resturants yes you have to book for them but when you get excellent food and service its well worth booking.The staff work very hard and long hours and are always there to help if you do have any problems.This includes all staff from management. reception. dining room.kitchen bar staff.maids.animation and all the other staff that help to look after the G.Ventana and its guests If you take a little time to say hello and talk to them you will find that they are lovely people.There is nothing wrong with any of the drinks like any other AI hotels one cant expect to be served very expensive wines and top brand names on spirits etc.The local brands are fine we have no problems with them I could go on and on but all i will say now is that we are looking forward to our next holiday later this year Sept./Oct..

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coventry, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2012

Just come back from gran ventana or my second home, had the best 2 weeks of relaxation, good food, excellent company and very funny entertainment, first of all the entertainment staff are so funny, the best of course is mr shakalaka (Jose) who just does not stop working he made my 2 weeks, I would like to thank donkey,manny,shaggy,alex and Jr (jr your awesome, jump in the bloody water INNIT) you always spoil me when I'm there lol.

The restaurants are good as always and I love the displays when you enter, my birthday was just the best with all the balloons and hugs/kisses (just like my family), I did not want to leave I was so sad, I cannot wait til July when I'm back out there xx

Room Tip: If you have been before you can upgrade for free just email he hotel before hand to see what is avai...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, Canada
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

Alright, I will try and be as detailed as possible without writing a story here. My girlfriend and I (in our early 20's) went to the GV from April 22nd-29th. We thought it was just going to be the 2 of us until we were surprised by our 2 friends who meet us at the resort. That was a pleasnt surprise. If my review is all over the place i apologize i am trying to remember everything. Excuse any typos as i am trying to fly through this.

CHECK IN:
We got there around 9pm i believe. Check in took us all of about 5 minutes, very smooth and very polite staff. Ride to the resort was about 20 minutes or so. Had my big bottle of presidente on the bus (wish i had gotten 2)

ROOMS:
Our room was 2216 in the Catalina building. I would reccommend this room to anyone who is going. A/C was quiet and could be very cold if you wanted it to be. Beds were firm but we never had a problem falling asleep. TV was a flat screen but we rarely watched it as we were not in our rooms much. Bathroom was nice, clean, and everything worked fine. The first night we saw a huge cochroach in our bathroom, killed it was I was thinking "Oh god not all week" but we never had any other bugs in the room for the rest of the week. Shower was fine, always hot water what else can you ask for? Our room looked onto the ocean but was blocked by the trees. It was still very nice.

BEACH:
Stunning. Loved it. The snorkeling was amazing, a ton of fish EVERYWHERE. Yes the venders are on the beach daily asking you to "looky looky" but god damn people give them a break they carry all this stuff up and down the beach, just say "no thanks" and they continue on their way. If you want something get it. We were up at 7 everyday, went to the beach on the sunny days and never had a problem getting a sun hut.

POOL:
Nice size, swim up bar, warm, what else do you want? People...dont play the towel game, its rude. but regardless there is always a place to sit. If your up at 7 you will not have a problem sitting where you want.

EXCURSIONS:
We went to the plaza and saw James as recommended on the forum. Was not about to book from someone who was on the beach and could be gone the next day. We did the dune buggys which was awesome, got muddy, rinsed off at a beach had a beer, then went and saw a little village and a school. What an eye opening experience. You truly do not understand how these people live without seeing it first hand. We also went to monkey jungle (a bumpy 30 minute ride up a rocky hill) but definately worth it. We went zip lining there (I will not upload my pics of it because i look rediculous) and saw the monkeys there which was so cool!

FOOD:
What is wrong with people writing bad reviews about food? Like c'mon people. You cant mess up rice. You cant mess up pasta. you can mess up potatoes, fresh omletes, over easy eggs, etc etc. If you dont want to eat the meat then dont. I did and thought it was good. Chicken was awesome. Beef was a little tought but if you want 5 star dining go to Downtown Toronto or something. My girlfriend is a picky eater and doesnt like much. She ate 3 meals a day plus dessert.....she didnt complain once. If you dont like something go get something else, there is lots to choose from, its a buffet. The A la Cartes were good. we did all 3. My fav was the Italian. my gf had the alfredo pasta and it was amazing. I think i ate half of hers. we were usually too full for dessert. Again...if you want 5 star dining go downtown somewhere. If you want to eat normal restaurant style food this is more than okay.

STAFF:
First of all I will start with my boy SANATA. I now have him on facebook :) This guy is an absolute stud. One of the nicest people i have ever met. Went above and beyond everytime. never expected a tip, just went on his way and did his thing. The rest of the staff was exteremly friendly and very polite. They appreciate anything you give them. Entertainment staff were funny. spent most time on the beach so didnt see them much, but when we did they were awesome as well.

BARS:
never waited for longer than 30 seconds for a drink. Some people said waterdown drinks? They must be alcoholics. The drinks were strong. Its All inclusive. if you want more booze in it ask and they will give you as much as you want :) Cups were another complaint. they were regular hard plastic cups, no worries.

DOWNFALL:
Locals on the weekend. We are in ours 20s like i stated so we dont mind the company. But some of them are rude and do not care about anyone else. They flood the recption (I will upload pics of it) and they all know how to whistle super loud and speak spanish obviously and get the attention of the reception workers.(10 year old kids whistling louder than anything ive heard. Must be a skill they are born with haha) So they just butt in front of you and dont care. GV should have a rope line up like at the airports where they serve the next person in line not just every man for themselves kinda deal.

OVERALL:
We had a great time. We went with positive attitudes, and made the best of it. We had rain almost everyday which sucked but oh well its a tropical place. The last 3 days were sunny and we layed on the beach and got a nice tan. The other days were overcast and you can still get a tan laying around. GO ENJOY YOURSELF We took a lot of pics and i will try and upload them later.

TIPS:
go to the plaza for your wifi if you want to email home. Check out the forum on here. It is filled with a lot of useful information that you will want to use.

DONT LISTEN TO BAD REVIEWS, I could of made the little things seem a lot worse but for what? I was on an island and not working...why complain?

Feel free to email me @ andy.springstead@gmail.com if you want to ask me something. There is probably lots i forgot but im sure when i upload pics they will tell the story.

And no im not a competitor from another resort. Im a guy from Hamilton giving an honest review.

Room Tip: 2116 Catalina Building. Had a courtnest room in Beta building and it wasnt as nice
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Sundridge, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

We stayed at the Gran Ventana from March 2nd - March 9th. This was our 3rd year in a row and we will be going back again next year if not sooner. This resort may not be brand new but the staff are always working at some type of maintenance like painting or washing. This resort may not be a 5 star but it also costs much less. The Gran Ventana has very good "bang for your buck". The staff at the Gran Ventana went above and beyond to make our stay as memorable and enjoyable as possible. The animation team remembered us from our previous vacations and made us feel right at home. Jose and Evalina took extra good care of us and kept us entertained during the day and on our feet dancing all evening. Alvin from the lobby bar made sure that our drinks were never empty during the evening entertainment and even provided some entertainment of his own with his quick wit. An extra special commendation goes out to Jacquie at the Tiki Bar. There is a reason that she won employee of the month twice last year. We built a strong friendship with her and we miss her. She is one reason that we look forward to going back time and time again. We didn't build the same relationships with the restaraunt staff but we also never had the same servers day after day with the exception of Jose from the buffet who has the biggest and warmest smile I have ever seen. The rooms are not extravagant but are nicely decorated. We don't really spend much time in our room anyways. The beach is very clean and the sea weed is raked on a daily basis. The snorkelling is hit and miss. Some times you can find all kinds of pretty fish and the next time find nothing. There is a break water that keeps the waves small near shore so water activities are possible almost every day. I can't think of anything negative to say about the resort. We have always had an amazing time there and we would definately recommend this resort to friends.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoboken, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2012

We stayed at the Gran Ventana from April 26th - April 29th and had a good time. This was our second stay at this hotel and not much has changed since last year. We go there for a long weekend away and it serves it's purpose. The rooms are dated but clean. The grounds are clean as is the hotel. The beach is nice and relaxing. There are vendors on the beach but they are polite and accept a "no thank you" and walk on.The staff is friendly considering they work 15 hour days. The only thing that lacks here is the food, breakfast is good at the buffet, the lunch at the ocean grill is also good but when it comes time to dinner....hmmmm, it's lacking. I would recommend this hotel for a short period of time nothing more than 4 days as the food is just not good enough.

Room Tip: Bring your own wine if that is your beverage of choice.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

Address: Playa Dorada | PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort 3.5*
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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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