My mom and I have now been to the Gran Ventana 4 times in the past 2 years (various times of the year), and will probably end up going once more this year. Whether we plan a trip last minute, or months in advance... we always have an excellent time.
From the minute we step off of the airport shuttle, to the minute we walk back onto it, the service is incredible. The staff at the Gran Ventana make you feel at home, as if they are your extended family. We have gotten to know everyone from the servers, bartenders, front desk staff, managers etc. and every one of them are very pleasant and polite when talking to you (and some will teach you some Espanol too!) Any kind of issue you have, they do their upmost best in helping to resolve.
In terms of food, the buffet has become a lot better than when we were first there at the hotel. The selection is great, and they always throw in something new every day of the week to switch things up whether that being bruschetta, a new pasta salad, or something new to grill. Breakfast is available in the buffet, for lunch there is the buffet or the Ocean Grill on the beach, and for dinner you can choose between the buffet or the 3 al la carte's (Italian - favourite, Octupus, or Ocean Grill). The al la carte's are amazing food, and are great quieter areas to enjoy your dinner (semi-formal attire required.)
Alcohol is never bad, the drinks are quite good with amazing bartenders that keep your drink full, and trustworthy enough that if you ask them to make something for you, they can make a mean “special” of their own! Fourth time returning, and they still remember my favourite drink… if that tells you anything about the service there.
Entertainment would be the only part of the hotel that could be improved. Although the shows such as the Magic Show blew me out of my seat, it was incredible! Other great shows would be the Mr. and Mrs. Gran Ventana which gets the audience involved and is a hilarious evening of entertainment. The animation crew definitely try their hardest and are really nice and energetic, but unless you’ve got a wild amount of tourists staying the same week as you, it can be quite dry.
The pool is great and kept very clean with a volleyball net in the center of it, along with a pool bar which is great when it’s so hot and no one wants to get out of the pool! There is also an adult/quiet pool which has its own bar as well that stays open if it’s busy enough. The pool I should also mention is the centre of the resort. All of the rooms and restaurants surround the pool.
The resort itself is kept extremely clean and is not necessarily too small, but it’s not too big. The walk to the beach is less than 2 minutes wherever your hotel room is, and the beach is incredible. I would say that the beach at the Gran Ventana is the best out of all the resorts along the beach. Kept clean and nice little huts to stay in the shade if needed. In addition, there is a bit of coral on the beach right by the hotel that you can go snorkeling by! Amazing! Take some banana’s out with you if possible (sounds crazy but fish love it!)
The hotel rooms have never been an issue for my mom and I and are a good size with mini fridges included that are refilled with beer each morning. Air conditioning has never been a problem for us either, keeps the room nice and cold! We had met a couple that did have a problem, and maintenance was up in no time to fix it. They keep a maintenance worker on during the night as well in case you have trouble in your room.
In addition, there is the Coco Bongo night club which is a 3-4 minute walk from the hotel, completely safe walk as they have security all the way down the street. On Tuesdays it is free rum and cokes, free admission any day of the night and is a fun place to go with friends or to walk down and enjoy some music!
Overall, this is by far our favourite resort. We haven’t tried anywhere else in the Dominican, which could be a plus or not in other people’s eyes. We’ve researched other resorts but the Gran Ventana keeps us returning every time. Also talking to other tourists in the airport returning home, we’ve heard not-so-great comments on other not-to-be-named hotels and made us feel so much more happy with our decision to stay at our hotel, the Gran Ventana.