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“Great...if you have the right expectations”

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #6 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Great...if you have the right expectations”
Reviewed September 6, 2013

My wife and I are in our early 30's from Toronto Canada. We wanted a relaxing vacation with our 3 year old daughter so we picked a small resort and didn't care for any excusions. This was at the end of August. If you don't want to walk miles within the resort and no crowds. This is the place. The food selection was less than compared to other places we been to in the past (Grand Bahia Pricipe / Iberostar) but those had probably 3-10x as many people. The beauty of this place is you don't fight for anything and there are no lines for anything.

- smaller than larger resorts, but big enough, we had 2 adults 1 toddler in a king bed
- cathedral ceiling (3rd floor) is great but AC was too much, we had to set it to lowest setting at night, or u can turn off and go ceiling fan
- rarely see bugs in room
- roomy washroom
- fridge Pepsi 7 up 2 beers 2 water bottles and large water bottle

- Good English every where
- Nice friendly
- Free wifi around lobby but u need to get credentials
- Not grande looking but not ugly

- Small but have swim up bar, and enough sections where you can swim and not be bothered by others
- Nicer chairs better than normal plastic beach chairs
- icee/slushy drinks could be colder depending on which bar used
- Not crowded dont need to save spot in the morning

- Not crowded at all no need to save spots
- Each spot is far from others at least 20 yards from closest neighbor
- Clean beach and water
- bring banana/bread to feed small fishes
- But too many vendors in the beginning, after two days, they knew we weren't buying and stayed away

Buffet lunch breakfast
- Great service
- Not crowded
- No lines
- Nice variety but not enough stations for make own pasta or grills as larger resorts
- Make your own coffee sometimes but their servers will do it too in the morning making te rounds
- People w kids can just get hot milk here yourself anytime
- Also water machine to fill up on water

- Ana manning reception at buffet and makes reservations for restaurants
- Agustin Gomez a server at the a la carte restaurants is definition of service w a smile

Octopus - have AC, get the curry chicken or steak; weak apps
Italian - decent apps and mains
Ocean grill - next to beach nice breezes but food not as good, better off at the other places

Room Tip: There are no elevators and 3 floors. So decide for yourself convenience or privacy.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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5 Thank old_type
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Regina, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed September 5, 2013

We first went to the Gran Ventana in Jan of 2011 and was so impressed we went back on Jan 2012. Yes the resort is a little dated, but being a resort type and not a massive hotel it felt inviting and has a very relax atmosphere. The staff were amazing, I have never met friendlier people. The food choices were many, my husband especially like the fact there was bacon every morning. It was so close to the beach which was always clean and the locals never bothered you once you had said "no thanks". Air conditioning worked well which we needed everyday. Every excursion that we ventured out to was inviting and the guides were entertaining. If you got involved with the entertainment you would find it extremely well done and have lots of fun. It's a great place for families and couples.

Room Tip: If you want an adult only pool ask to stay in the area just behind the main resort. You still have...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank Vivian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed September 5, 2013

Arrival at airport, long queue to pay entrance tax to DR. After fetching bags, lots of porters to help, however look upon tourists as cash cows, best if you have wheels on cases do your own portering tips are welcome but not mandatory.
Transfer to hotel about 1hr, two stops at other hotels before arriving at gran Ventana. Security visible, nice bell boy station at curb side. Very easy and friendly service to have bags brought to room. Large airy lobby, check in slow, not the biggest smiles upon check in. This is where you purchase safe key which is a little expensive, but highly advised. Rooms are fine, nothing to get excited about, wardrobe space limited, sliding doors to patio/ balcony poor quality. Recommend checking them as ours didn't lock, why take a chance and leave yourself vulnerable to potential theft. Alerted hotel to our concern, did have to chase but maintenance guy did eventually came to fix. Likewise front door was faulty, again flagged and got it fixed. Beds are " firm" but that suited our preference.bathrooms are dated, but function. We had new TV but channels in English limited, if you or your kids watch tv during downtime best to come equipped. We had an issue with cockroache, there's little they can do, it's not because hotel is dirty, it's just a fact of life in Caribbean. MAid gave me can of raid, once we were in for the night, I used pool towel to block bottom of door and sprayed around door fame, this seemed to work. There's three blocks of rooms, each three story, email hotel in advance with your requirements and they will do their best to accommodate. No such thing as true sea view. Some rooms adjoin, which is what we had , as we have 3 kids. they also have some nice jr. suites apparently. The maids are generally pleasant,at least ours was. they work hard to keep rooms and public areas to rooms clean & tidy. They don't speak very good English. But with lots of sign language and our best Spanish from Dora the explorer we got by. Pease tip them when you leave even a dollar a day means so much. Bring your own shampoo / conditioner as the line they provide is awful. Fridge in room, filled with sodas, water and beer daily.
Pool nice, guys clean and does checks regularly throughout the day, main pool has swim up bar. A walk in approach which is great for kids, non confident swimmers or even the elderly. Theres no life guard on duty ever, so watch the little ones the pool is deep in places. Bar tenders vary. There's a quiet pool, it's large but removed from the beaten track, it's with beata building which is closed? There's no bar service, which is hugely inconvenient to Phaff about with having to get drinks from bar or room.
The beach is wonderful lots of sun loungers etc. lovely warm water, can get choppy, we found calm in am and wind picks up in afternoon. Be careful when breeze blows saw lots of sun burn victims. there are vendors who are desperate to sell you their stuff, but most speak some English and if you tell them," no thanks " or try no gracias, they generally respect that. If you show any sign of interest they will persist. Always haggle, good idea to have look in gift shop to get idea of shop purchased items, or strike conversation with guests and establish what they paid. Generally it takes a few tries to get your price, rule of thumb reduce first quote by 1/3 maybe even 1/4 in certain cases. Be prepared to politely walk away, they will reduce prices. You can get hair braided, which first choice says not to do, but its hard not to when same service costs£65 for full head, long hair, versus about £40 on beach, look for celina number 31. They vendors have two colours blue for products and white shirts with numbers for services like excursions. It's cheaper, most are insured. We didn't do any as our kids were too young, but did hear one can, end up sitting on the same transfers to those who bought thru hotel vendor at double sometimes triple the cost. It's a personal choice. I'm only assign on what I heard. If you plan to horseback ride be sure to pack long sensible pants/jeans. Saw so many folks coming back with major cuts & chaffing to nurse afterwards.
Entertainment and rec. is where this hotel really falls very short. I was terribly disappointed with their kids club, they advertise having one, but its a joke. It's merely a place, where if your kids would stay, they can be out if the sun close to the pool area. We are quite used to the first choice kids club environment at their holiday villages ..... This is nothing like it. A room, non air conditioned without activities, structure or anything interesting to do in except to paint / draw. Games & puzzles are incomplete old/dirty. The girl running it is heavily pregnant, she's lovely but that's about all. Pack some infatables from home, they can be purchased at gift shop but at enormous expense. Likewise for sun screen etc. They will inflate floats etc in gift shop free of charge. Also any pool toys, balls etc worth packing. There's pool tables and table tennis but all are really tired, balls chipped, pockets broken, felt ripped. It's an awful shame the hotel wouldn't spend a few quid revamping this area and adding some other things for kids to do, at the same time!! The entertainment team try hard but work with limited resources to get the crowd going, it's up to you to join in. We found it was a great ice breaker to meet fellow visitors. The evening entertainment is amateur, again they try hard, but its not Vegas it's Ventana style.
There's 4 restaurants, 3 a la carte, all great, my favourite was the octopus, the staff are friendly. We found they (all staff) seemed to wait for green light from us whether to engage or not. If you're playfull /friendly then "games on" and they tend to acknowledge you and the service and experience changes. Solomon is wonderful, very nice waiter who floats around most of the restaurants, Amable who works the Buffett and Natalie who works in all the a la carte. We found the food to be good throughout our stay. Be sure to have cash for tourist card which is mandatory to enter country and departure tax which must be paid before departure, local currency or USD seemed to be used. The restaurants are strict on NOT bringing food out, to the beach / pool. There's no snacks offered like in some places in the afternoon. We resorted to secreting croissant and muffins out in our bags so we'd have something to give kids without having to trundle beach side cafe which only served hot dogs, burgers, pizza and not just light snack. Snacks can be purchased at gift shop, note however at inflated cost and the products are different and don't taste same. One family haggled taxi to acceptable and affordable R/T cab ride to local Walmart and shopped there. There's a shopping area out side hotel, a lot of tat and again Not great prices. There's a flea market plaza on beach, go chaperoned !!!!! Out of hotel onto beach and go left. Be careful walking outside hotel, one guest went past the security in beach, was talking on her phone and was mugged at knife point?? If you go out on excursions etc. leave your jewellery etc at home in the safe, if you must bring camera but keep it concealed.

Only downside was the business with heavily reduced rates published to the locals on weekends. We understand it to be a government initiative, but it causes problems. On a bank holiday (16august) weekend, the rep from FC, the entertainment staff, and waiters were very proactive in advising us to book a la carte and perhaps even excursions over the weekends and especially over bank holiday weekend. Over all , it wasn't a huge problem as then guests in hiuse most of us "united" and kinda rallied around each other. but there was just too many people milling about, the hotel couldn't cope or really manage the crowds. The locals do tend to take over, not only in their numbers, for instance over weekend 16 th August, there was apparently 200 guests in house mainly, UK, USA and Canadian by 3pm on Friday there was close to 2000. The locals are noisy, don't appreciate personal space and culturally are quite different. Like heading back to their rooms after the entertainment in pm ended, about 11pm families would make their way back to their rooms like a herd of elephants, shouting, banging doors and letting kids run along the coridors, which are all tiled and reverberate the noise. Just plain inconsiderate. Hardly any spoke English. We had 1incident of someone "pooping" in the pool. I was appalled by how the hotel chose to action, which was to do nothing. They never closed the pool, just added more chlorine and left it at that. There was no announcement made, despite havering bi- lingual staff pool side, at least giving patrons the choice to use a dirty pool.
We spent three weeks there. Over all we had a great time, we met lots of lovely people most of Which will be friends for life. The rep for Thompson /first choice is on site mist days, we brought any concerns to his attention and gave him & hotel to fix, which did occur after a little chasing, with exception to the deification incident. Probably would not go back, not because of locals etc, only because there are so many other places in the world to visit.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5 Thank teamumizoomi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed September 4, 2013

Ventana beach is one of the best hotels we have stayed at and food is fabulous and staff are really nice. Rooms comfortable and clean. It is a great base for sight seeing and relaxing as the hotel provides all the comforts you need. We were only here for one week as we stayed another week at Bavaro beach but enjoyed it so much that we are looking forward to staying here again.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
4 Thank Russell B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Willoughby Hills, Ohio
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013

I stayed at the hotel in august of 2013, the hotel is very beautiful, the food is excellent, the hotel emplyees were good and helpful but you will not see real orange juice, and milk. the grounds where kept up very nice. The entertainment was spotty, the local cultural dancing was nice, they had a micheal jackson look alike, he was very bad, the dancing was sloppy at best, the dancers were out of step. Dont go for the entertainment you will be dissapointed.

a few small things like the pool and ping pong tables were beaten up, the weight room was out dated and in poor condition. The rooms weren`t too bad, they were clean, you can see wear on the wood work and deep gouges on the doors. I did not give it a very good rating, but it is decent. all in all it was ok..but I gave it a B- to a B. it is a tough call for rating this hotel. it all depends on what you want.

Room Tip: have about $50 singles with you for tipping, a good tip is $5.00 USD if the room is kept clean i ga...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5 Thank steven b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JBohmann, Public Relations Manager at VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort, responded to this review, September 5, 2013
Thank you for posting your kind comments about your recent stay at Gran Ventana. We are delighted to read that you enjoyed the food, grounds and staff. September and October are quieter months for us and we will be using this time to address repair and annual maintenance issues. We hope the next time you visit us you will find the resort in improved condition!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013 via mobile

The hotel is quite dated needs a lot of money invested in it firstly here are the good points the grounds and pool area are kept very clean and staff are very friendly
ok here are the bad points the entertainment seem to get thinner and thinner and no activities were around the hotel what there was seem to last about ten minutes mini disco for the kids last five mins if that two songs
On the weekend of the 16th we had about 800 Dominicans come and overtake the place you could not get near the pool bar for life or money but they are allowed to have a holiday and surprising they did behave and till the following week
The food is so warm that I am surprised no one got seriously ill the food ie the fruit is not covered up and flies are all over it which they did not care about hygiene I asked could I take a plate out they said the boss would not allow it it was only 2 hot dogs ok this is where this gets ugly on the second week some of the Dominicans decided to attend the hotel but only about 100 as all the kids went back to school then the horrible thing happened some one excreted in the pool did they close the pool the answer to this a big fat No all they did was put a couple of chemicals in the pool and fished it out I spoke to the thomson rep who said he would bring to the manager attention but was not able to comment what a surprise !!! I am disgusted this was even happening in a supposed four star hotel would I return a big fat No this hotel don't waste your money in the Dominican sadly disappointed in what I thought the carribean would be

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
10 Thank Swishy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013

This was our 6th Visit to the Hotel...
1: Staff still great, all happy and allways smileing
2: Cleaning still very good.
3: Beach - Great
4: Food - still very good choice, but eact early, as can get cold

Change's since last visits....
1: Only a smail amount of English in hotel as only Thompson/First Choice have 2 planes a week into Purto Pata.
2: Hotel during week days very,very quiet..
3: Rooms - No Smell = Good, but very tired, need refit
4: Maids doing great job cleaning, but due to cut backs of staff they have to work long hours and clean many rooms, no time to give the extra bits in the rooms like they used to due to time allowed.
5: Beach Huts very taty
6: On Beach lots of sellers, and only small amount of people, which sorry to say you get keep getting asked to look at the goods?

The Big Problem = The weekend locals, On a Fri afternoon till Sunday midday arround 500 locas decend on hotel, (which I understand the hotel needs customers) But the locals are so rude, bad mannered, and spitting on beach, Very Very loud, Banging doors late at night... And how they treat the staff.....

Before this last visit I would recommend to friends and family. But now I would not
Would I return again - No,
Time to try other hotels (As I said above only two planes a week and on our plane which was full and only 6 other people got off the coach to this hotel, So where are all the other people going. ???? The Coach in the past was full (arround 42) ???

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9 Thank John Chapman
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

Property: VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Address: Playa Dorada | PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
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 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#6 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 506
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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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