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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
A TripAdvisor Member
Connecticut
12
Reviewed July 19, 2004

I actually have not gone to G.V. yet, my trip is scheduled for August..one of the amenties that I read regarding this hotel was that, there is jet skiing out of all the reviews I've read, i haven't heard anything about that.Does any one know if that is a water sport that they have?

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,723 - 4,729 of 5,669 reviews

Reviewed July 18, 2004

Hello, we stayed in June 04 for two weeks, as part of a wedding (16 of us).

Positives
* Rooms are clean and refurbished ok - no problem there.
* Local people seemed friendly
* Hot and sunny weather, most of the year
* Good if you like a typical package holiday hotel, not very good if you like to explore and leave the resort, although there is a shopping centre nearby.
* Children under 10 will love it, not sure about teenagers though.
*Clean, modern hotel, with friendly staff.
* Not many French or Germans. 70% British

Negatives
* Entertainment for the children is good, but not for adults. No discos, just a lot of tacky in-house entertainment.
* Rooms around the main pool are noisy
* Food for children and vegetarians is limited. But there is a lot of choice for meat/fish eaters. If you are into fine dining and decent food, the Dominican Republic is not for you.
* Beach is not that nice for swimming (apparently the South beaches are nicer)
* A lot of people had upset stomachs
*Paradise Island is a long way from the resort and costs a lot of money. Two hours on a sand bank! Go to Thailand if you want nice beaches/islands
*Lots of rather loud Americans and Canadians

Recommendations
* Pay for the airport lounge at the airport, well worth £10 each for a seat, air-con and a decent cup of tea, before boarding the plane with limited pitch space! + You beat the queue checking in. (Book with Rep)
* If you have no children, ask for a room by the quiet pool. As it really is quiet and there are no children by this pool.
* Visit Sosua, as has a a nice beach. (Get a taxis, as you can then spend as long as you like)
* Book your excursions on the beach and you will save a fortune. Same local tour companies/itineraries as the big UK tour operators offer + 50% cheaper in some cases.
* Visit the local Casino. Good way of spending a few hours one evening. (10 minute walk)
* Take some dehydration drinks and stomach upset tablets + mosquito repellent.

Enjoy your holiday, it really is not that bad! Especially if you go with other people, although on your own as a couple is fine for a week, but you may find it a bit boring for two weeks. Unless you are lay by the pool folk, then you will love it.

  • Stayed: June 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank sh3333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Howell, NJ
12
Reviewed July 16, 2004

DON'T GO !!!

Let me start with the airport, you will have people jumping at you to take your bags so keep an eye on them because you will not know who has them. You will also have people asking you for money there so keep your money in your pocket until the last possible minute. The ride from the airport to your resort will be a real eye opener, but don't let it scare you like it did us. Once you get to the resorts you will see a totally different site. Tipping is a simple $1.00 per bag for everyone! We stayed at the Gran Ventana, it was not what we expected at all. If your looking for air conditioning you will have to wait until you get to your room because that is the only thing that has it and you better hope it works for you entire trip unlike ours that broke down everyday. Of course the "gift shop" has air,but there is only enough room for 2 people in there. Now onto the food, I hope your not looking for a great variety because it is pretty much all the same each day. We had to eat in the buffet everyday because we could not make a reservation for the 3 ala carte restaurants and this was because we would not give the man $$$ just to make a reservation and we later found out that they served the same food as the buffet, the only difference is they bring it to you. Hope you like chicken hahaha... The drinks are not worth the plastic cups they put them in. You order a strawberry daquari and it contains NO strawberries at all. They make it red with grenaden. Sometimes they are weak and sometimes they are to strong and that goes by which person you get it from and if you tip them. As for the pool you'd better set your clock for 5:30 that is if you want a chair and an umbrella and please take the pin from the unbrella because someone else will and you will be **** out of luck. If you want the beach you will have to do the same thing, but the beace is not all that, to narrow and alot of coral close to shore. Don't worry about the people on the beach trying to sell you **** just say no and they will leave you alone. If you decide to buy something do not pay their price, tell them what you are going to pay and stick to it they will cave. Some guy wanted to sell me a t-shirt for $15.00, I got it for $5.00.. The rooms in the hotel are at best ok, our bathroom ceiling was falling down and we had to spray for these little bugs the first two days we were there. The beds and linens smelled like mildew and it made our clothes smell as well. My wife had to wash everything when we got home. If you have young girls with you keep an eye on them. I had my 14 yr old with us and could not believe what these dominican MEN were doing (winking, blowing kisses, etc..) One guy grabbed his crotch whild winking at her. This led to a small fight which had to broken up by security from the hotel. Security told me I should not have said anything,but I guess that was because they both worked for the hotel. We never saw either one of them again so when I went to the desk it was just a waste of my time. Now onto the entertainment, there might as well be none, they call themselve the "fun team" they do pretty much nothing, they are not amusing nor fun and the shows at night are really not worth losing your sleep over, remember you will need your sleep to get your chair in the morning. Most of them as well as the rest of the staff don't speak anything but spanish. You would think that being a resort with alot of European and American travelers they would make the effort to learn. If you have alot of money you will have a good time, but that is only because you will be out of the resort and on day trips. It cost me $210.00 for a dolphin trip. It was well worth it,but who has that kind of money when your on a weeks vacation. THERE IS NOTHING TO DO AT THE RESORT EXCEPT LAY AROUND THE POOL. There is nothing for kids to do except look at breasts that are trying to catch a tan. Well I could go on and on, but the bottom line is go to Punta Cana instead. POP is not quite ready for the tourists yet. Perhaps in 5 yrs or so, but not yet. SAVE YOUR MONEY>
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2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
liverpool england
15
Reviewed July 15, 2004

Just got back from two weeks in paradise.Stayed june/july2004 with my wife and son.Staff could not do enough to help,they were so polite and friendly.The place was spotlessly clean,with an army of cleaners on the go all the time.The food was great,always lots to choose from.....if you have kids that can be fussy about what they eat,don't worry.There are two resturant's to choose from during the day.The beach bar is proberly the best as you can go in, in your swim shorts.Tryed all the a la carte's carrabian was very good.Occtopuss was better my son did not like anything on the menu so they did chickhen and chips for him.The Italian was awefull.the maitre d' looked like a hit man,was rude and very unhelpfull.Would not like to run into him in a dark alley.The bar staff were very good and you never have to wait for drinks.The entertainment was poor,and i'm trying to be kind.They worked very hard and long but it really was dreadfull.May i suggest that you take a deck of cards as there are only so many times you can sit and watch people dance.The quite bar is great as you can just sit and have a drink and talk.The beach is great but does get very windy...but this is welcome as it cools things down a little.You do have to get out early if you want a bed round the pool with shelter,as there is not enough to go round.Keep an eye on your towel as they tend to get stolen if you leave them,and you have to pay for replacements.The dolphin swim is out of this world and a big must(see oscar in the plaza a lot cheaper than the rep)if you don't swim you can do an encounter instead.The discovery trip was great but it does make you value what you have when you see the poor kids begging.Take lots of pens and paper for the kids as they really need them.We took a load of my sons cloths than were to small for him and gave them out...by the look on there facses you would think that they had won the lottery.If like to swim go on the scuba dive it is brill.Above all enjoy your stay at a graet hotel,with great and happy staffs.Right now i'm off to the travel agents to book the gran ventana for next year..might see you ?

5  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Brampton, Ontario
110
Reviewed July 12, 2004

Thank you to all those who posted previous reviews. I read them extensively prior to booking my recent vacation to Gran Ventana (July 2-9). I have done a fair bit of travelling to sun destinations in the past and this was my third trip to Pueto Plata and the Playa Dorado Resort. To me the value of going the Dominican Republic is second to none. I can say with great confidence that the Gran Ventana is probably the best resort I have ever stayed at (which have been mostly 4 to 4+ hotels). Here's my overview. I travelled with my family of 3 and my mother-in-law who we booked a separate room for. Upon booking we made a request that the rooms be adjacent to each other (which there is no guarantees) and that we have ocean view - we got both. I should note that the ocean view rooms are partially ocean view as the buildings are not directly on the beach. However our room also had a partial view of the swimming pool. We were in the Catalina Buidling one of two buildings around the large swimming pool. This was a great location for us, because we were close to all the activity. Yes it is noisy during the day, but we were seeking a fun-filled holiday. From 12 noon to 3pm is Siesta, and the activities at the pool die down (i.e. games and music). This was the time that we generally had lunch and took a nap. Food overall was excellent. The fussiest of eaters is bound to find somethings that they like at the buffet restaurant (breakfast, lunch and dinner). There was a lot of variety and changes each night. The Ocean Grill on the beach was nice for a different setting at lunch, especially if you are on the beach. The selection is less than the buffet. For dinner there are also three a-la-carte restaurants and we ate at all. Again, great for a different setting and a very nice full-service dinner. We enjoyed all restaurants and there was good variety on their set menus. Make sure to make your reservations at 3:30pm the previous day as seating is very limtied. Thus with all the options for eatings, it's difficult to complain, especially when the food tasted good. Customer service all around was great. Lots of staff around to take care of your every need. We heeded the advice of others that provided reviews to get an extra room key to keep the A/C and electricity on while you left the room. There were times where one of us would need to leave the room with a key while another stayed in. Also I advise getting the lock for the safe for $9 US. We had a lot of valuables on hand that we needed to secure. The rooms were nice and clean. Most days our room was cleaned in the morning. As for entertainment, there are lots of organized activities for all ages should you wish to participate - both around and in the pool and at the beach. There is a schedule posted next to the stage. The night entertainment was not great as others have stated, but adequate. Some nights are better than others. The interactive shows are better, so the better the participation from the audience the better the show, so don't be shy. There is another part of the hotel that has the "quiet pool". If you want a peaceful vacation, request to stay at that location - however, you are further away from the beach, buffet, show and all the other activities and amenities at the main hotel area. It is nice there and my wife and I did spend an afternoon there without our son, but very quiet. We took the advice of another reviewer and took a taxi to Sosua one day. The taxi was $35US return and you pay when you return. We told the taxi driver to drop us off and pick us back up in 3 hours and he did. A trip to Sosua is a must and I regret not having made the visit on my previous trips. The beach at Playa Dorado is not great, but the beach at Sosua is georgeous. You could probably easily spend a day there on the beach and visiting the markets. I was tempeted to go back for a second day. There is a very nice plaza in the Playa Dorado complex. If shopping, this is a good start to gauge prices - expecially compaired to the vendors on the beach. Be sure to negotiate on the beach. The prices they quote start high. If you are buying rum buy it at the liquor store at the plaza. It is cheaper at the plaza than at the airport. Also eat before you go to the airport. The restaurants there are very expensive - we paid $19 US for two fast food meals. Once again, I thank all those who posted previous reviews (both good and bad) - they were very helpful! My stay at Gran Ventana was excellent, and although I prefer to stay at different hotels, I would easily go back to Gran Ventana in the future.

10  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2004

Stayed in the G.V. September of last year with my partner. Overall the holiday was very enjoyable and a relaxing experience. However, the only disappointment was the accommodation. The hotel room had a very musty smell, continuous throughout our stay and we ended up having to open the patio doors to air the room, despite the fact that we had air conditioning. Also, we had to have the room fumigated along with another couple which we met on holiday. We came up in bites and thought it may be sand flies from the beach until we found a squashed flea underneath the bedding. Apart from this, the location was picturesque and the food fairly extensive. We like to try alternative foods on holiday and there was a good range especially in the buffett - try the roast joints of meat - beautiful!! The Al-la-Carte restaurants were beautifully laid out although we did find the food in the Octopus restaurant a bit "different", foods put with foods that really didnt complement one another.

Good advice, when changing up your US Dollars into Dominican Dollars get friendly with your Rep. Our one gave us a really good rate of exchange compared to the in hotel Bank and those over the road.

We went on a few excursions. If you do any trips book the Catamaran. You have a whole day out on the boat and includes snorkelling at three different reefs. The crew were fantastic fun and very entertaining - PREPARE TO GET WET! All your food and drinks are included, although there is a tendency to feel sea sick on the way out to the reefs. DONT LET THIS PUT U OFF BOOKING. Once u get into the water and back on the boat the sea sickness goes.

Another trip (the most expensive) is to Saona Island where the Bounty advert was filmed. This is a very filled day. After a fairly long coach trip you spend time in an Italian/Dominican village with an ampthitheatre and the scenery is out of this world, after lunch you then take the coach to the airport where you take a 3/4 plane journey across to the south of the island. Here you are met by a speed boat and travel across the water to Saona Island. The speed boat takes about 1/2 hour and is well worth it. The island is beautiful. After spending 4-5 hours on the island, the return journey back takes you to a sand bank where you are allowed to swim and snorkel. The fish and starfish are truly amazing.

I guess, all in all, apart from the hotel room this is a very relaxing holiday. There is daily entertainment, which is geared more to the young people amongst us and evening entertainment is very limited. Everything shuts down by midnight and unless you venture out of the complex its BEDTIME for you.

One last thing, do go but if you can try and get a good deal on your holiday. Although they say its four star I would say more like 3 and I wouldnt want to pay anymore than £1,000. We were lucky and got a deal off the internet for £760.

2  Thank Helen73uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2004

I stayed at the Gran Ventana with three of my friends beginning on 6/22 through 6/27 in 2 separate rooms. I booked it online at American Airlines Vacations and it cost us $648 per person including airfare and transfers. Upon arrival to the hotel, our rooms were in separate buildings. They seemed like they couldn't get the "authorization" to get us in the same building, never mind the same floor. After a fuss, they agreed to place my friends on the 3rd floor in the Sosua building with us. The rooms were average at best, with beds that moved and squeaked. However, for some reason, we slept well and that was never a problem.
The pool itself seemed gorgeous, however, after the first day of swimming, playing water polo and hanging out, we all had huge blisters and cuts on our feet because the pool bottom was cement that was NOT sanded down. This was horrible as we all had to get neosporin and apply anti-bacterial creme and bandages on our feet everyday after that. In fact, we all wore our water shoes into the pool on every occassion after that. Also, the pool was not cleaned regularly (during the day) and it closed to early -- at 7pm!!! It seemed that some people, especially children may have used it for a bathroom because many areas had discolored water stains.
The food....average at best. The buffet was good for breakfast, decent for lunch and just average for dinner. The food tasted bland and after the first day I was looking for more variety. The a-la carte restaurants were just "spiced-up" versions of the buffet and I feel that they could have done a much better job. Out of all the ala-carte restaurants, we liked Octopus the best. At the Italian resturant, di Mare, they only would give us a choice of one dish and limited what we could eat, even bread! I thought this was totally unacceptable. The ocean grill was okay and I liked the steak with onions. However, after the 3rd day, I felt like I was going to start quacking as I felt like a rooster because of all the chicken I ate!
Nightlife? What nightlife? As a single person, I was shocked to find myself in bed by 11pm with nothing to do. The single scene was not happening and most that were around, were undiserable or prostitutes. The locals tried to convince us to go to a local topless bar, but we declined. They assured us a "good" time if you know what I mean.
I don't know if it is me, but it seems that the great reviews for the Gran Ventana came from Europeans, especially Brits! Personally, this hotel does not deserve more than a 3* rating and although it was "clean", it could have done a better job with service -- especially by offering room service. In addition, there is no top-shelf liquor available, even for a price. I was willing to pay to actually have the drink of my dreams --- a frozen mudslide, but I couldn't. They only have about 20 drinks on the menu, and that's it!!!! You don't have a choice of making your own, you have to take what they give you.
All employees seemed that they would go out of the way to do things for you, however, TIPS were greatly appreciated and almost requested. In fact, when I wanted something from one of the ala-carte restaurants, they almost made it seem possible if they we pre-tipped for it. This was just a disgrace and ruined my whole vibe.
Personally, I have stayed at the Paradisus in Punta Cana and found it to be truly a first class luxury resort. At the Gran Ventana, I did not feel any sort of luxury experienced. In addition, the beach was similar to New York (east coast) beaches and not anything like the carribbean or Punta Cana. I don't care what anyone says, CANCUN is a tough spot to out do and I would rather be on the Cancun strip with the thousands of places to visit than be stuck in Puerto Plata with nothing to do. Just my thoughts! If you want an all inclusive, do it in Punta Cana or Cancun -- NOT Puerto Plata. For a couple of hundred dollars more, Cancun would of been a lot better!
By the way, these sentiments were shared by many of those we talked to at the Gran Ventana, including many from the United States and Britain. Therefore, those who wrote these positive reviews in the past must have really been "out" of it while vacationing! Certainly, this is not the same place we are talking about!

  • Stayed: June 2004
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank ChrisTheGreek
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:
Bar / Lounge 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:
#3 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: $109 - $370 (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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