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“So happy we chose the Gran Ventana!”

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 39 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Kamloops, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“So happy we chose the Gran Ventana!”
Reviewed 8 April 2012

We just returned home from our first vacation to the Dominican Republic. We have been to Mexico a number of times and were a little worried to pick a resort in the Dominican without having been there before. In the end, we made a great choice with the Gran Ventana!

Overall:

We really enjoyed our stay at the Gran Ventana and would definitely go back again. The resort is very well maintained. Nice pool. Awesome beach. No lineups at the bars. Delicious variety of drinks! Great food.

Food:

I was really impressed with the food at this resort. We stayed at a 5-star in Mexico last year with an enormous buffet and I thought the Gran Ventana's buffet was a little small when we first arrived; HOWEVER, I changed my mind about that quickly. A lot of the food at the buffet is different each day, which gave us good variety. Of course, the staples remain for each meal such as rice and potatoes, but they're cooked a little differently for some variety. A small variety of pasta at each lunch and dinner (all the pasta sauces were sooooo good)! Smoothie station at breakfast was awesome. One of the people we travelled with is vegetarian and doesn't eat eggs, but she left each meal full and satisfied, as did I.

Rooms:

The rooms are clean and big, and we had comfortable sleeps each night. The bathroom in our room was a bit old looking and could use a renovation, but it was clean and served its purpose.

Additional information:

*There are people selling jewellry on the beach. It can be a bit annoying, but they're very nice. We talked to a couple who told us to offer half the amount quoted for something by the guys on the beach. Once you offer half, you can then move up a bit from there. We bargained a bit for the ring I bought, but overall we didn't mind paying close to the asking price. The people are so poor compared to the way we live here in Canada, so we didn't feel the need to bargain away the seller's commission. We feel these people work so hard and they deserve any tips or extra money we can afford.

**Porters in white shirts will try to take your bags at the airport and then ask for tips after they've rolled your bags 5 feet. Do not give them your suitcases, no matter how pushy they are. I said no thanks, but he insisted and then wouldn't walk away from us until we gave him a tip. It can be a bit confusing because at first I thought they were part of Nolitours. Just remember white shirts which say "Volunteer Porters" on the back, or something like that.

***Bring a larger water bottle/insulated cup so can fill it up with water or drinks and not have to go to the bar for refills so often.

Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
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1 Thank TasteSeeker1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 April 2012

Was torn between giving the resort a 3 or 4 but going with the 3. Do a similar trip annually and have to say this resort was nice but doesn’t stand out or compare to other ones we’ve recently gone to in Punta Cana or Jamaica.
Hotel is about 20 min from the airport. Taxis to/from are $35. Not sure how much shuttles would have been but was nice to just jump right in to a taxi and not have to wait for anyone else or make any stops. Taxi back to the airport was easy as they have cab stand in the front of the complex so they can get you cab in 2 min. Porters at the airport were annoying as they will grab your bag to get you a short distance and then expect a tip. Hang on to your bags tight or just go with it.
Check in is at 3 and they rarely get you in before. So have your bathing suit ready if you get there early so you can grab a bite or sit by the pool while you wait for your room. The bellhop was nice and will hold your bags both on arrival and the day of checkout. They also brought some welcome drinks once we arrived.
Hotel is fairly small. We stayed in Sueno, 3rd floor facing a nice courtyard/ocean (most rooms aren’t ocean view as you have trees blocking the view between rooms and the ocean) We actually liked the beds as they were on the firm side but the pillows could’ve been nicer. Rooms were nice, updated with flat screen tv, strong ac. (water pressure is low but not a big deal at all)
Pool was just ok, very small but had a swim up bar which is nice. There was a volley ball court in the center of the pool which was nice but as the pool was already small it took up quite a bit of the area. (also be prepared for stray balls coming at you). It is a family hotel so there were a lot of kids and teenagers jumping in/splashing strangers/yelling/etc. so it was not a relaxing scene at all. But this may just be due to the time of year we went. They did have a quiet pool but it was a little walk away and we didn’t check out other then when we 1st checked in and it was 3 very old couples with no music. Would’ve been nice to have a happy middle.
Beach was also ok. But we already went in expecting the beach to not be as nice as Punta Canas. Best to spend the first half of the day at the beach & the 2nd half by the pool. They clean up the seaweed 1st thing in the morning so the water is nice but by the afternoon the seaweed gathers up quite a bit plus it gets very windy. Be prepared to play the chair game which if frustrating especially as we liked to be the 1st people actually lying out on the beach but still had to go out earlier to get an umbrella. But if you don’t want an umbrella then you won’t have a problem getting chairs by the beach or the pool.
Food was really good. Buffet offered good selection and we never seemed to get lines that you get at the larger resorts. Breakfast omelet bar was nice and moved quickly and they had good selection of meats to go on the side. Lunch also had something tasty as the meat seemed to be fresh, moist and soft (be sure and try the bbq ribs and roasted chick). Dinner was also nice with some good selections and great desserts. As far as the specialty restaurants would put them in order of excellent of Seafood and then Italian and the Dominican as Very Good. Dress code for men is long pants, collared shirt (polos are ok) and shoes although nice leather sandals were allowed.
People mentioned bringing drink mugs. Did come in handy in the morning if you wanted to take coffee to go but drinks from the bar were standard size so didn’t see the need to bring this around all day unless you’re looking to do some serious drinking. Never waiting more than a min for a drink. Each bartender poors differently and they usually go on the light side but if you wanted a stronger drink you only have to ask.
There weren’t many activities. Have been to other resorts where they have lots of activities planned throughout the day to keep you entertained and go out of their way to post scheds. Only saw 2 or 3 scheduled activities. They have a couple of pool tables and a ping pong table. Gym seemed ok, small but there didn’t seem to be anyone in there. And you can get snorkel/goggles by the beach.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank nyccowboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2012

I just returned from the VH Gran Ventana Resort and had a wonderful time. The resort is smaller than some other resorts that we have stayed at but the rooms and grounds were very well kept. Beach was nice and I found the food to be great with lots of variety. Booking the ala carte restaurants was not a problem even for a large group of us. The service in the restaurants was excellant. The nightly entertainment was a little boring and not very good. The bar shuts down at midnight but there is a nightclub called Coco Bongo and a sports bar down the road for those who want to stay up a little later. Overall this was a great spot for the price.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KimLoader
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Poughkeepsie, New York
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2012

My wife, my 6 yr-old and I just returned from DR late last night. Let me start with my rating... I had done some homework before we left and got exactly what we expected from an all-inclusive resort that was more than reasonable. We were looking for sunshine on the cheap and that's what we got. In the 8 days we were there, we NEVER left the compound! The grounds are beautiful, the staff is friendly and accommodating and the food at the buffet is adequete; the food at the 3 restaurants is excellent. I drank the El Presidente the whole week and never had a headache... and that's when we started at 0-beer-thirty! The room is dated but clean. The beach and pool are the central attractions and they did not disappoint. We made great friends from the UK and Canada. My son was quite upset when we left but will have lifetime penpals! The only con to the hotel (and it would be hard to police) is the "towel game" at both the pool and beach, but even this did not ruin our stay. All in all, if you are looking for a cheap all-inclusive place to go, I would recommend the Gran Ventana.

Room Tip: If you need quiet, stay by the quiet pool. If you can handle a little bit of noise, stay at the back...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Brian T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saratoga Springs, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012 via mobile

My husband and I just returned from our vacation at Gran Ventana. We were originally booked at Lifestyles, but after reading all of the terrible reviews on Trip Advisor, we changed our reservations and chose Gran Ventana (because of all the positive reviews). I'll start with the pro's. The resort itself is beautiful. The grounds are immaculate and the staff work very hard to keep it that way. Our room was very clean and beds and pillows were comfortable. Maids cleaned our room, restocked our fridge and replenished towels every day. We would leave the maids $3-$4 every day, depending on how many $1 bills we had on hand. It was kind of funny that on the days we left $3, the bed would be made normally. On the days we left $4, our bed would be made, turned down, and a flower would be left on the pillow~It is ALL about tipping here. Another plus about this resort is the location. A short walk will bring you to many shops offering anything you could need or want. There is a nice restaurant/bar there called Hemingways that we visited a few times (good food and drinks). The resort is also close to town and close to the airport. So... Now for the cons. First and foremost...the food. We dreaded every meal. The scrambled eggs sit in so much liquid that they are served with a slotted spoon to "strain" them. The sausage and bacon taste nothing like sausage or bacon. The orange "juice" is not juice at all. Tastes like Tang. No such thing as butter there~ just some nasty tasteing margarine. For lunch....OMG! One bite of my burger and I had to spit it out. It was that bad. Pizza was not gross, but certainly not good. There were some mystery deli meats? offered. We hoped for better in the "specialty restaurants". The first two we tried were so bad, that we gave up our reservation for the third one and ate elsewhere, off the resort. Drinks were another huge disappointment. ALL they serve on this resort is Dominican's low-shelf brand. No brand liquor AT ALL! I hope you like Dominican Presidente Beer, because that is the ONLY beer you will get here. (my husband did say it wasn't bad). Drinks are definitely watered down. I could drink all day on the beach and still pass a sobriety test. Oh... One more thing. At the airport, the porters insist on taking your luggage from you, even if you only need to walk 5 feet with it. Then they put their hand out and tell you "Me like American dollars". I would advise you to stay away from The Orange Market. That was s c a r y!! You will see all these Dominican men begging you to enter their small shacks to buy their wares. They try to take your hand to bring you in. Anything they are selling is peddled on the beach all day, every day anyways. Another annoyance! Get ready for the onslaught of Dominicans begging you to buy something as you are trying to relax on the beach. It goes on ALL day. On our 5th day there, at breakfast, my husband said, "This is the first vacation in my lifetime, that I'm actually looking forward to getting home". I laughed and said, "Oh my God, I was just thinking the same thing!" The food was THAT bad! So anyways, I have read MANY positive reviews on this resort, so I guess, to each their own. Just felt the need to let others know of our experience at Gran Ventana.

Stayed March 2012
Helpful?
7 Thank oceanlover124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bath, UK
Level Contributor
62 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2012

We went on our second trip to the Ventana in January 2012 (previous visit was Sept/Oct 2011).
Unfortunately the clientele on this visit were far more rowdy which took the edge of the holiday somewhat although I guess this is not the fault of the Hotel.
I think a lot of Canadians come down to the DomRep for an early party break and this resulted in many disturbed nights sleep and ultimately to a change of room request. This however was carried out with no fuss by the Hotel staff and the new room (by the quiet pool) was much more peaceful. Sylvia from First Choice was extremely helpful and our thanks to her.
Food great as before, fantastic beach and Jackie at the quiet pool as entertaining as always!
Defintely worth considering for a North Coast venue but choose carefully when you go if you like it a little more peaceful.
More detail in my other review of this Hotel.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Steve B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2012

I went to Gran Ventana with 2 good friends. We stayed in one of the buildings closest to the pool. There are 2 buildings that are central, and one that's off the resort - much quieter, and a longer walk to the beach.

Overall, I enjoyed our stay, but the best part of it was the company of my friends. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a foodie and came to the hotel with low-ish expectations. They were met - while there was TONS of variety, I had trouble finding anything (other than the delicious papaya) that I could eat consistently. The Italian a la carte was very tasty. And once we realized we could order bottles of wine separately (vs. drinking what was provided for free), we were happy.

The grounds are really nicely maintained. A nice big pool, lovely beach. Quite windy down at the beach and you can only swim out about 20 ft before coming across a super shallow ridge, so you only end up going in for a dip.

The rooms are clean and comfortable, with a mild damp/moldy smell (but not the hotel's fault I suspect, as it's more the climate).

Avoid the horse back trips with Gregorio. The "beach" trip is about 5 km of sweaty, back-road riding before you arrive at a 200m strip of beach with trash all over it, and the horses are in really bad shape.

Room Tip: If you want quiet, make sure you're away from the pool
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sal S
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
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Beach Fitness Centre 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 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 On the Beach 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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