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“Nice, decent clean and good food but not 4 Stars in the USA...” 3 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 #5 of 41 hotels in Puerto Plata
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Nice, decent clean and good food but not 4 Stars in the USA...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

First let me say that I am a former hotel and food and beverage executive from Atlantic City. I am writing this review honestly. Gran Ventana is a decent clean place with good food. It is not a 4 Star in the USA nor is it a 4 Star if you were in Punta Cana. It is a 3 Star but could really with a bit of effort become a 4 Star. The potential is there and the basics are good.
PROS...Food was generally very good with nice quality and presentation. Buffet needs to add variety to all three meals. I read reviews that it never changed and thought that it was probably typical for a buffet but it actually was less varied than other resorts. No theme nights, no special evenings, etc. that being said the restaurants were all clean and three gourmet rooms were all good with nice fresh food. Fish in all restaurants was very fresh and well cooked, nicely spiced with excellent favors. My husband and I ate in the Seafood restaurant, Italian and Gourmet and all three were very good. They were not Le Bec Fin nice but they were all good especially if you remember you are in another country.
PROS...Staff. When arriving to the Junior Suite that we had booked we noticed a large puddle on the floor of our bathroom. Most people would consider this a negative but the way the staff handled it made it a pro for me. A maintenance person quickly arrived to our room and suggested that we move to another. Guest Services called in the promised five minutes, sent a bellman to our room with new keys and efficiently moved us. After settling into our new suite the Guest Services rep. Called to make certain that our new room was to our liking. Our new room had a broken sliding door and they immediately sent someone to fix it which they did. So the staff turned a negative into a major positive.
Other staff were all very nice, accommodating and gave us their beautiful smiles as we passed by. Nothing was too much trouble. Service in the restaurants was efficient and pleasant. Maids and service staff were always working. The entire place was kept clean and as tidy and neat as you can when serving all of those people. The grounds were constantly being worked on and were very nice.
We did experience many vendors on the beach as others have discussed. They did not really bother you although they did come by frequently and try to sell their wares. I did purchase a couple things from two of the vendors and felt that I got a good deal.
One of the things my husband and I were looking forward to was walking around the mall next door and the other resorts in the area as well as the casinos. Well most of the other resorts seemed closed. The two adjacent resorts were open and my husband and I walked through them. The Bavaro seemed to be the liveliest of the resorts. But if you think you are going to a very lively area with lots to do you are mistaken.
The wifi is very difficult to understand. My husband and I thought we both read that wifi was free and it was when you were in the lobby. However it was very sporadic and if it was raining and everyone was in the lobby it was difficult to get onto the Internet. My husband is in sales so wifi is very important to us. We always buy wifi for our room but were unable to do so at Gran Ventana because there was no wifi in our room. I would get that the resort could make some deal with an Internet company and share some of their profits with them. All of the guests were complaining that they kept getting dropped off of the Internet and you had to keep getting new access codes to get back on. They did not have one code per day...they had many codes and kept handing out new codes to everyone.
As I said in the beginning this is really not a bad resort and could be so much better with a few upgrades.
First and foremost the bed was like a rock. I had read what other people said and thought "I don't mind a hard bed and neither does my husband" but this wasn't just a hard bed. It was awful. We got 10 pillows and extra blankets which we put under the sheet and managed to sleep better after the first night. This is an easy fix for management. Expensive but important and not difficult. Changing the mattresses would make this resort so much closer to a 4 Star.
Secondly the entertainment was inadequate. They don't even have to spend a lot of money to give everyone more to do. Perhaps they could have Spanish lessons, painting of pottery, making some beaded jewelry, water aerobics every day or more things to do while in the pool. We had been to Dreams Punta Cana several times and they had a ton of things to do which probably didn't cost very much! Bubbles, water events, dance classes,maybe movies at night. There was no time or English explanation of the evening events on the bulletin board so we never knew what was happening or at what time. One night they had a children's event on the stage and had little kids dancing the chicken dance. Really this could be substantially improved. I would bet that there are some people that work at the hotel who could put on a show at night that would be better than what they had. There has to be a lot more that they could do that doesn't cost much to help entertain the guests.
Another thing that the resort could do is remove some of the lower limbs from the trees down by the water. We had an ocean front suite but couldn't really see much of the ocean. If the branches were removed they could sell the rooms for more money along with an ocean view.
So bottom line is with a few quick fixes (new mattresses, upgrade Internet and better entertainment) this resort could definitely be closer to a 4 Star. They do have really good basics and a nice product and physical plant with a beautiful walkable beach.
All this being said my husband and I got an amazing deal on this place and went with low expectations. We were looking for a good inexpensive place to get away and be warm. We definitely got our money's worth and more. I encourage this resort to take it one step further.....make a few changes and re-market itself.....
Thank you.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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
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English first
orangeville, ontario
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Just returned from our 8th visit to the Gran Ventana. We are A.I. travellers - Puerto La Cruz in Venezuela, Margarita Island, Panama, Mexico,Cuba and the Dominican Republic where we stayed three times in Punta Cana. We have also stayed at two other resorts in Puerto Plata and the G.V. is definitely the best. Also, some of the other resorts we stayed at were 5 star. There is a reason that the G.V. is number 4 of 46 resorts in Puerto Plata with number one being the sister resort of the G.V., the Casa Colonial which is not an A.I. There is only one A.I. resort rated above the G.V. and that is a 5 star and more expensive.

We visit the Dominican twice a year for two weeks. We like the resort because it is small, safe, the beach is the best on the Playa Dorada and we get to meet lots of people from different countries as well as being very affordable. This time we met some people from Sweden, some people from Ontario including a couple from our home town. Last year we met people from the village where we were born in the U.K. and reunited with them this time. It was their 31st stay.

I am an extremely fussy person especially about food and cleanliness. Don't believe some of the reviews when they suggest the food is recycled the next day. One of the girls who used to be in the buffet is now in "pest control" and goes around the whole resort every day checking on everything including the rooms, the kitchens, pools and public facilities. There is food in the main buffet to suit all tastes. I personally love the tropical fresh fruit and the fresh fruit smoothies in the morning. We like the a la carte restaurants and the Ocean Grill is our favourite. We also like the Octopus.

The rooms are small but VERY clean and who in their right mind stays much in their room when on holiday! Last year the old type TV was replaced with flat screen and all the rooms now have keyless entry.

Last year for those who like their electronic devices, the WiFi is now free around the lobby whereas last year there was a charge.

The Ocean Grill was redecorated last summer and we noticed new cushions in the theatre area.

The animation team do their best to keep everyone entertained and work very hard. As the entertainment ends early for some, the young people can go to the Plaza which is just a few minutes walk where it continues into the early hours.

The beach vendors are polite and not usually persistent. A polite no thanks or no gracias and they are on their way. Their prices are high but can be brought down considerably. Even though we have not bought anything from them for years some of them remember us and always speak. I buy jewellry from Alberto at the Larimar Shop upstairs in the plaza just outside the resort. He made earrrings out of a ring I bought from a beach vendor yrs ago. Global economy has hit the D.R. and many of the resorts in Playa Dorada and the stores in the plaza have had to close down due to this.

The beach is the best in the area and is raked every day by the groundskeepers who work very hard. We love you "Mr. Coconut Man" even though we don't know yr. name but you always wave to us and we love to watch you climbing up the trees. There are loads of palapas and even on the first day when we arrived mid afternoon we found a tree to sit under. Swimming is safe and there is a coral reef just in front where the snorkellers can go.

The staff is the best - Danilsa, the guest services rep; Dominga in "Pest Control" who we knew from the main buffet; Raoul in the buffet; Porfino & Nicolo, the smoothie guys; Maria who used to be in Ocean Grill but is now in the Octopus and buffet; our maids on the 3rd floor Saona, Bernardina and Lidia and Juan on the front desk.

Most of the money you pay for your travel package goes for the air fare, taxes, transfers, etc. and only a small % goes to the resort which explains why it is not much more money to go away for 2 wks. than one week.

Can't wait to go back in October with all our family this time.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
North Bay, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Enjoyed my stay here, food and drinks were good. Rooms were good not spectacular and service was amazing. The beach is nice but there is coral that makes for good snorkelling but be careful walking out. The vendors on the beach were annoying and just sell the stuff you can get in the gift shop for triple the price.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Winnipeg, Canada
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

My husband and I booked a two week all inclusive holiday with triplink.ca and we stayed at the VH Gran Ventana. They say that the four star resorts in the Dominican Republic aren't the same calibre as a four star hotel in say, New York or Paris or London. Being a third world country, we weren't sure what to expect but the VH Gran Ventana was a lovely place for a holiday! The hotel itself is kept very clean and there were always staff cleaning, mopping, sweeping. Even the beach was kept raked every day. The room maids were very good and kept our room spic 'n span and kept our fridge well stocked with bottled water, pepsi and the Caribbean beer "Presidente". We left good tips as we know that they work hard, long hours and don't earn very much. We tipped everyone from the bartenders to the staff that came out to us on the patio or in the large lounge area where the free WiFi is to bring us a drink. The a la carte restaraunts were very good and the service was very professional and friendly. We loved the linguine in a smoked salmon sauce at the Italian restaurant! We had that three times during our stay! Preceded by appetizers that were excellent and followed by an unbelievable dessert cart! Delicious! Followed by a cappuccino and an Amaretto! There we tipped more like $12.00 for their service although the food was included in our price to stay. You should book the a la carte restaurants as soon as you arrive at the resort for the week and you have to be at the booking station before noon. The people here are so warm-hearted and friendly and always have a smile and Hola! for you! The weather with it's sunshine and warm ocean breezes was just lovely and many folks spent the whole day by or in the pool or on the beach. It's definitely a very laid back holiday to just relax if that's all you want to do! You can also book some of the many available excursions to zip line or snorkel at Paradise Island or see the city in a cable car. The hotel entertainment staff entertain every evening and they work long hours. They sing and dance and try to get everyone involved. Luis, who works at the pool bar is super nice and the bell boy is very sweet and everyone is so friendly and courteous to you and make you feel so at home that they feel like family! That's probably why when you arrive they say, "welcome home"! We talked to so many people that come back there every year! 7 years here, 25 years there! Wow! The resort fumigates for mosquitoes, flies and other bugs so you won't see any! We had a view of the ocean from our main floor balcony in room 2139 in the Catalina building. We enjoyed sitting out there on our balcony and playing scrabble to while away an afternoon when we wanted a change of scene. You should bring lots of U.S. ones to tip the staff as it's difficult to get change. The food at the buffet is very good and the morning coffee in the buffet excellent! You can have the omelet guy at the back of the buffet make you an omelet with your own hand chosen ingredients. It is brilliant! We enjoyed our time at this resort and would definitely recommend it!

Room Tip: Ask for a room facing the beach if you like a quieter room.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada, Quebec
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We arrived with no pain, there was a lot of people at the same time at the front desk and there was multiple lines and we didn't know where to go, so confusion there it was! After we sorted all out we finally got our key and went to the rooms, we had a really big room with a King bed, a nice balcony and a volted ceiling, very big, I loved it. Bathroom was clean and really big. I have no complaint on the room. For restaurants, we were a party of 10 so it was tricky for times and all but we managed to go eat at all restaurants. I enjoyed them all. Food and service was good. Like I said I didn't expect much cuz I'm not a "all inclusive" kind of girl. But the week went on going nicer and niver, there was shows at night, they are not the "cruise shows" but they try and do a good job at it, it entertained me. Pool was nice, there was dancing lessons in day time. Was a little breezy for me on the beach but not the Hotel's fault :). What I didn't like and are not use too is the salesman on the beach, but when you ignore them they just go away, so I didn't bother with them. I was with two familes that both had 2 children and the kids had fun, they met other kids and we almost didn't see them at all. They played billiard and I can say that they enjoyed their week. Oh yes the buffet...nothing to say there either everything was well cooked, spicy enough, and good. A lot of choices. All in All I would recommend this place to anyone. Family or couple. But for young teenager who would like to party and have fun...no, not the good spot

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
London, Ontario, Canada
1 review
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

This was a girls trip and we all had a fabulous time. We have all travelled to the DR previously but this was the first time at this resort. I prefer Puerto Plata as there is so much more to see and do. I also like the fact that it is approximately 20 minutes or so from the airport. The shuttle service to and from the resort was efficient. The resort was VERY clean. We stayed in the La Saona building at the resort and our rooms faced the pool area. It was a little loud in the evening but if you are looking for more privacy and quiet, a move to the other side of the buildings or the other complex where the italian restaurant is located is all that is required. We stayed on the second level and had no safety concerns. Our rooms were very clean, air conditioning worked well, the housekeeping staff were pleasant and accommodating. Water pressure was fine. I do agree with the comments about the beds being hard. They were a little too hard for my preference but the others in my group found them fine. There were never any issues getting lounge chairs on the beach or by the pool. The food was fine at the buffet but we particularly enjoyed the a la cartes, the italian being our favourite. I am finding it hard to believe some of the negative comments previously left by travellers - the one in particular about the orange juice not being pure juice, but Tang. Yes, there was Tang in the machine where the water and iced tea were located but I guess it must have been too difficult for them to look to their left and walk 3 feet to the fresh squeezed fruit juice and smoothie bar. The smoothies were amazing. As for the negative comments about the cats and the birds....ah hello....you are outside??? The little finchs would fly around sometimes in the buffet area but I'm not quite sure how one controls that when you are outside. As for the cats, there were two or three that we saw but they were not annoying at all. As for the overall quality of the buffet, it was fine. We found all of the staff very friendly and accommodating. There were many choices. As for the excursions, I personally feel the Nolitours rep (Jennifer) could have been more informative when explaining the particular excursions as there were a few misunderstandings as to what was actually included in some excursions and I didn't find her overly friendly. We did two excursions - the all day catamaran trip (it was a great day on the boat, the lunch was very good, the staff on the boat were alot of fun, the snorkelling was average but still a nice experience). We did the all day spa at the Jasmine Spa - I WOULD DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THIS EXPERIENCE. It was incredible and I would encourage the FULL day package. What you receive for the price is unbelievable and the experience is amazing. The vendors on the beach were persistent at first but after a day or two and consistently saying no, they would respect that. We ended up making friends with a young man named Gary who we ended up buying most of our items from at the end of our stay. He was very friendly and respectful. Overall - this is a sold 4 star and I would recommend this resort.

Room Tip: I would encourage the second level and if you are looking for a quieter room, you may want to stay a...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dover, DE
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2013

We travelled to the DR in January. First, Puerto Plata is a great location and town. Beautiful beaches, nice people, great weather and easy access from airport (20 min ride). The hotel is in a secured area called Playa Dorada. There are several hotels, casinos and a golf course. We stayed in room 2311 which, to our surprise, had a slight ocean view. The hotel is right on a beautiful beach.

There were plenty of lounge chairs around the pool and on the beach everyday. The staff is incredibly nice and helpful. The food is fantastic and the service is great. You should book in the three restuarants as soon as you arrive. They are really nice (we did the Octopus twice). However, we found the food at the buffett reall good as well with plenty to select from each day. The bars serve decent drinks and there really wasn't a problem waiting for service (you should bring some small bills to tip the bartenders and housekeeping folks). No problems at all with the room. Hardly used the air conditoning. The ocean breeze and sound of the waves at night were perfect.

The folks selling stuff on the beach are just trying to make a living. They are not pushy and will leave you alone if you ask them too. Their prices are not too bad if you negotiate. However, you should try the Orange Market down the beach too. We didn't really notice a significant influx of local folks on the weekend. If you go, try the sauna in the fitness room - great way to sweat out all the toxins (ha!!).

We booked our excusions and airport transfers with Marysol Tours (they have a website). Francisco De La Cruz is the owner and he is great. Their office is right next to the resort in the shopping mall. He was reliable and spoke fluent english. Ask for Fabio to be your driver. He lives there and knows all the places to go to and see (plus he is a really nice guy and makes sure you enjoy the trip). We did the dune buggy tour (awesome!!!) and the city/cable car tour. The cable car takes you up the mountain into the rain forest. Great views and a lot of fun. Prices are very reasonable compared to the other tour companies.

One thing, we found it difficult to break large $$ denominations. So you should try to avoid bringing $50s and $100s (not that we had too many of those). All in all, we had a great time and definitely plan on returning. Have fun in the DR!!

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the saona or catalina bldg. They are both near the big pool and beach. The Beata b...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 14
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 ( 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
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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