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.....
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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