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“Great Beach and a Pleasant Resort”

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Visited the Gran Ventana from February 7-14, 2013. Tour company was Nolitours out of Toronto, with CanJet doing the flight.

FLIGHT - The head flight attendant told us as we came on board that CanJet puts the most number of seats possible on the plane. It sure was crowded and I was not surprised. My seatmates paid for upgraded service (not sure how much) and all they seemed to get out of it was an extra drink, a pillow and a blanket. Definitely not more leg room.

ROOM - The majority of rooms are 2 doubles, so if you want a king you will need to talk to the front desk once you get there. The kings appear to be the ones with the waterfront views, so you can pre-book and pay a premium for a beachfront room or get friendly with the front desk staff. If you want quiet, best to ask for a room in the Saona building, which is away from the disco at the Barcelo next door as well as the nightly stage show. The Catalina building is closer to the stage and the Beata building is somewhat disconnected from the rest of the resort and was not a popular choice for many of the guests.

ENTERTAINMENT - Do not expect an energetic show or anything particularly entertaining (it is lame!) - most nights the staff just get up on stage and try to get the crowd to dance or sing. The best night was a Micheal Jackson tribute and it was only about an hour in length, and was followed by the staff up on stage talking. If you want a casino or disco, you will have to leave the resort. The Barcelo next door has a disco and there is a Casino within walking distance.

POOL and BEACH - The beach is lovely, well maintained with lots of loungers and palapas. If you arrive after 1400h you may even be able to get a palapa as the crowd tends to migrate back to the pool later in the day as the wind starts to pick up a bit. There is a reef just offshore that keeps the waves small and the undertow quite light. The reef is interesting to snorkel although there is not a lot of coral to see. There are two pools - the main pool is in the centre of the resort, with a swim up bar, lots of loungers and lots of activity. For something quieter, try the Beata building as it has a quiet pool, perfect for reading.

BARS - The beach has a nice bar which is open until 1700h daily. The main pool has a swim up bar and another bar with comfortable furniture and a nice view of the stage area. It is open until about 1200h and is a great place to sit in the evening. The Beata building also has a bar open until 1200h - and has a very entertaining bartender named Jackie. There is also a bar in the lobby that is open each evening.

FOOD - There is a buffet restaurant, a snack bar by the beach (which doubles as an a la carte in the evening) and two other a la carte restaurants. As far as a la carte restaurants go, they are not that impressive and we found the buffet more interesting. The three a la carte restaurants serve italian (Beata building), caribbean (above the buffet) and grilled food (on the beach). We are not buffet people as we prefer a la carte service, but found that the buffet food was quite good each night, especially the roast pig that was at the carvery station.

Breakfast did not present a lot of choices but the green banana mash was always a hit, as was the smoothie station. Lunch at the beach bar was predictable but always tasty, either hamburgers, chili, fried fish or chicken wings. The rather big downside was the quality of the wine - at most other resorts the wine has been passable, but this resort seemed to make its own wine, and the quality was far worse than anything I have made at home. I did not expect great quality wines, but would have preferred something that was drinkable! Try the sangria instead, which has more rum in it than wine.

ROOM - Once we got friendly with the front desk staff, we managed to find a room with a king and an EXCELLENT view of the ocean (although there were a lot of trees). The balcony was large enough to sit out and relax on, the washroom was quite large and the room had lots of space. Downside was the closet, that had more shelves than hanging space and a nasty place on which to stub your toe (closure for the door).

GROUNDS - Well-maintained grounds were groomed each morning by numerous staff who did everything from rake the beach to pick up litter and leaves. The resort is quite compact and it is easy to walk from the front to the beach in less than 5 minutes. Even though compact, it did not feel cramped. If you wanted to walk the beach, it was easy to walk to the resorts on either side via the beach or to the shopping mall which was a 2 minute walk away. The mall was a bit sad, with a few empty storefronts, but it was a destination if you are looking for something to do. There is also a tennis court with a very engaging tennis pro!

Would I go back - YES - it is a nice resort, fairly good value for the money and a lovely beach although to be honest, I have not yet gone back to any resort twice.

Room Tip: Saona building is quieter and Beata building is a little removed from the rest of the resort.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank Wingo_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 16, 2013

We just had our fourth visit to the Gran Ventana and it still offers wonderful value and service. The staff are amazing and that means so much. The rooms are a little old fashioned and need some upgrading, but they are spotless. The public areas and restaurants are perfect. Food is absolutely fine considering the resort prepares thousands of meals a day. They are lots of vegetarian and healthy choices. Plus, fresh fruit everywhere! This is a family style resort – don’t go here if you want to drink and party all night. We like to go to bed well before midnight and walk the beach before breakfast. If you like that – this is the place for you!

Room Tip: If you want a really quiet sleep, avoid rooms around the pool – that’s where the nightly entertainme...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank GuinnessBoy1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

Stayed at Gran Ventana from Feb 7 to 14th, 2013. This resort was beyond my expectation. Our price was $2300.00 for 2 adults from Toronto direct. Short bus ride from Airport to resort (2o minutes). Check in was smooth, many people arrive on same bus as you, so it takes a bit of time. They bring heavy bags to your room. Room was nice, and everything was clean, linen, bathroom and floors. Small rental fee ($16US/week) for lock to put on safe in closet. Resort is small, so it is never far to travel from one part to another.
Breakfast at buffet by lobby each morning, always lots of selection, and they don't run out.
Lunch can be at buffet by lobby (if by pool), again always lots of selection, and they re-fill all selections quickly. They are always there to re-fill your wine or water at your table. If at the beach, the Grill is closer, not as big of selection, but always good, wine always available, and beach bar is right there where waiter will get you a mixed drink.
My package included 1 dinner meal at each of the 3 a la Carte restaurants. All were excellent, never questioned when I ordered 2 appetizers. Portions are small, but all fancy places do that, that's why I know to order double appetizers. There are wines available that are a additional cost, but no Port. Lobster is available at an additional cost at Grill and Octopus, we each had a full Lobster at the Grill, and it was great, cost was $40US, I was very happy with that. Always great service, food came fast, empty plates taken quickly, drinks always re-filled, asked if you were happy, never rushed, speciality coffee's after meal. We left $5US on table after meals, it probably wasn't enough!
We usually tipped a dollar for drinks. I had my own 52 oz mug, and hers was a bit smaller, every bartender just smiled and filled them. There was a lot of these mug with the Canadians at resort. We tipped $2US/day to maids on advise from tour representative on-site, and were very happy with service.
OK, I have 2 small complaints: the coffee cups are small, in Canada a large coffee is almost a litre these days, and I don't know anybody on one a day! Dominican Coffee is strong, I like that, others might want to cut with hot water. There is no Hot-Tub in resort, I'm just used to having one everyday at home.
On-site activities were good, the crowd makes it happen and the volleyball game in pool never stopped. The activity people work hard to get people involved. They do a good job. There is activities during day in pool, and land activities like billiards, ping pong, and bikes. There are 3 sections to pool, activities area, volleyball, and relaxing, lots of deck space, chairs and umbrellas. Small kids pool also. There is another part to the resort, and an additional quiet pool, saw it, never went to it, not my thing. Small gym with some equipment, and usually a staff to assist with spotting, if you know what you are doing, you can make it work, never too busy.
Lots of "off resort activities", and lots of people selling them. We didn't bring "hundreds" in cash for excursions, so paying by credit card with tour representative was fine with me. The tour rep says these are safer and insured.
They city tour and cable car was good, and yes, you have to barter with prices at certain times. You start at Rum factory, prices in store are set, but are very good. At the Amber Museum they have a nice store for jewellery after tour. The Dominican is just as good if not better for Cigars, than anywhere in world. There is a little display and a man making cigars in Museum. I have smoked thousands of cigars, and I got picked to roll one with his guidance, I also got to go and smell the tobacco in the store room, I bought a box, and smoked one while she bought jewellery, excellent price and quality. They seemed to like an educated consumer. There is a second Jewellery Manufactory Store stop, many things the same, Amber & Lamar. I left with another box of Cigars, after the complimentary one to sell me. Nice lunch on this trip, if you take full day. Afternoon is trip to cable car site to top of mountain, it is also very good. Some vendors in base of Christ Statue, many same items as else were, so remember the prices and work hard, don't be afraid to walk away, they will come with better price. I bought a unique bracelet here, had not seen it anywhere before.
4 Wheelers was expensive, but the most fun! We had to each have our own dune buggy (sit in) (not a sit on Quad). Stay to the back if you want to fall behind, then go a little faster to catch up! Get in behind the leader if you want the best video footage to buy after ($30US), and they don't budge on price! Leave phone and electronics at hotel if you are going to have fun. When she broke a wheel of her buggy (no crash), I thought they might try to charge for damage because we drove hard, but not a word was said, one of the guides gave her his buggy and we went on! Children will come up to you for candy in certain area's on this trip, you can buy candy before for $10US, to give out. Its only 4 hours, but you will feel it for more after, and longer to find all the dirt.
Duty free at airport leaving Dominican is always a good time to get Alcohol and Cigars, the prices compared to Canadian retail is crazy!

Room Tip: Room 1246, didn't hear anyone else, and no one complained when we made noise rather late at nigh...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Anthony C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

The resort has good taste, is full of color, the interior gardens fill with birds in the morning, food is better than average, beach and swimming pools fine. More interesting activities can be found close by: sand buggies, horseback riding, very good para-sailing, snorkeling, terraced waterfall that can be used for wet tobogganing, swimming with dolphins etc. We played beach volley with Brits and had some conversations with Dutch and German folks.
In my opinion food was quite diverse. I particularly liked local food: yucca, veggies, plantains, creole cuisine and ripe fruits. I remembered one evening we had exceptional lamb roast but only a minor fraction of tourists even tried it.
The evenings had a beach party, 10 minutes toward the town. There is also a disco close to the mall but I found that less attractive.
I found locals to be very live and helpful (I speak basic Spanish) and respectful. We took a motorcycle taxi to town, purchased Brugal for friends back home and had fun.

On the less bright side, I was a bit surprised by the number of zombies sitting all day in the same chairs, eating the same hot dog, pizza and fries days after days while complaining about various reasons. They lighted for few seconds when I shown them how to spot hummingbirds but lights went back off when animation called the daily bingo game.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank xergiu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I returned for our 8th visit , to this home away from home , the staff were fantastic , food !! Great, e mailed resort with our room request before leaving , and was pleasantly surprised !! Had great room just what we asked for , loved a quit drink at the beach bar at night, just relax and take in the sounds of the rolling waves , hats off to management for keeping our experience consistent , year after year , I would recommend this hotel , for a nice quiet , vacation

  • Stayed: February 2013
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4  Thank MADMIKEE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

Just returned from our holiday at Gran Ventana. The staff is great. The food is plentiful. The beach is fantastic with lots of lounge chairs and cabanas. It is near the mall. The bed was a king and hard but the room and maid service were great. The night show is not good but the lunch after is nice. The casinos are bad and the taxi drivers will charge you to go to them even if taxis are free to casinos in the compound. I would definately go there again. The pool is great for adults and kids.

Room Tip: Overlook the ocean
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Marian J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

The resort is great, food, drinks, the staff is great making you feel at home.. needs a few renovations in rooms.. but I been to almost all resorts In Puerto Plata but I always come back to to this one. Ramiro is the best Bartender... you will love this place if you are not looking for a fancy resort but a resort with great service and food.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Federico L
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 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: $107 - $334 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 506
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playa Dorada, a gated oceanfront community on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, is home to Gran Ventana Beach Resort, one of the country’s friendliest, most welcoming hotels. Located directly on the beach, our Puerto Plata beach resort boasts three pools, a kids club and an airy, cool and fresh lobby. We also offer a superb, all-inclusive value for families, couples and group vacations. ... more   less 
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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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