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“Dunes Beach Resort - Margarita Island, Venezuela”

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Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Reviewed 11 October 2013

I visited this resort in 2012 and had to write the below letter to Sunwing when I returned: I never even got a response from Sunwing on this - as I assume they probably had many letters from people doing this trip with them. Please note we are not overly difficult travelers; we are in our early 30's and had a very open mind when booking this trip. We were not expecting Sandals quality, just something cute that would let us explore Venezuela and come back to the resort to relax at night. However, it was one of the most disappointing trips we have ever been on. See below:

Dear Sunwing,
For years I have been watching this resort, and must say against some of the bad reviews and my husbands’ wishes, I booked this resort for end of February and was so excited. I have been fantasizing about doing this trip for a number of years. After final convincing my husband, I decided I had to write you feedback on this resort and vacation you are selling to Venezuela. The resort barely reflects a 2* rating; It actually reminded us of an old mansion/resort owned by an 80’s rock star who went on a terrible drug bender that just couldn’t pay the bills. Overall the resort was depressed and had probably seen its peek 20 years ago, and unfortunately the political issues and people really create a bad experience for tourism. Sunwing should not be doing vacations to this resort and in my opinion many of the services are falsely advertised. To start with the biggest issues – FOOD. The buffet was absolutely terrible. The worst part is that guests were confined to only the buffet the entire stay; as the site advertised 2 a-la-carte restaurants, but only provided 1 and only let guest eat there once during a week stay. Completely unacceptable. The food situation was a disaster and needs to be addressed – everyone I spoke with was complaining. For an island – not one day of fresh seafood??? No shrimp, shellfish – the fish that was prepared was dry and not fresh. The next major issue was the alcohol – or lack thereof. All the booze was watered down – and I mean to 5% levels. We tried 2 days to drink as much as possible and couldn’t even catch a buzz. It should not be advertised as alcohol included. Wine and beer so light and watered down that it didn’t matter how much you drank. I had to buy wine/beer/rum at a store outside the resort just to have a drink in my room. Pathetic. And the selection of drinks (alcoholic and non) was awful and limited. We literally spent $300 on booze just visiting this resort – unacceptable for an all-inclusive. Another thing that shouldn’t be advertised is the gym – no cardio machines and equipment from the 80’s. I require a fitness facility when I travel and I was unable to use this. It is definitely false advertising. This gym literally looked like something out of a Russian prison in the 60’s. However, the tennis courts were great and we used 5 times during our stay. The spa/sauna - also a disaster. The massage was good (technique – girls were sweet), but the room and spa were terrible. The Rooms: we were the only people on the resort that didn’t pay to upgrade to the premium section, mostly b/c I felt it was money grab; Rooms should not be so unacceptable that guests are forced to pay $150 to have a room that is livable. The condition of most rooms in the original section was so disgusting that there were only a handful of them occupied. This section is old, run down; horrible bathrooms and no lighting. Needs a total renovation and needs to be gutted/ rooms to be expanded and cleaned to reflect even close to a 4* standard. The area itself requires major work, additional pools and infrastructure. We actually found a dead baby alligator in the pool. This place looks abandoned. All week I heard horror stories from other guests of room situations. I can only assume you have received many letters and complaints after running a season of trips to this resort. Even the staff were 1* quality at best; overall not great, little interaction with staff, terrible bar service and horrible dinning option. There was barely any music – none on the beach/ no sound system anywhere to be found? Main bar had a small ghetto-blaster. The atmosphere was sad and depressing – I dreaded the nights where there was nothing to do, no alcohol in the drinks, and no light in my room to read. We were beyond bored. Bars overall were horrible – disco was a joke and had a terrible smell throughout. Nightlife was the worst of any resort I have ever been to. Overall, the place needs a pulse, a heartbeat. This was a sad place – the beach and location on island were nice, but as far as factors that the resort had control over, it was the worst I have ever been to. Would never go back and feel that Sunwing should reply with some sort of response or offer for this experience. Doubt I will ever vacation with your company again.

  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank VesteDemitte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 September 2013

I travel with latin-tours.com and my trip to Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort is one of a kind. No complains my Tour Operator advise me with details of each little place at the Hotel with very accurate information. We flight out of Miami, directly to Caracas and from there we connect to Isla Margarita. Mrs. Yasmin and Mr. Fernandez (owners of Latin Tours) was on our flight as well, so we feel very confident having our Tour Operators travelling together with us. Overall excellent resort, five swimming pools, delicious food and the best service by very warm people. Im strongly recommend this Hotel and my Tour Operator. Visit them at: www.latin-tours.com

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank SatisfyCus2mer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2013

This is one of the nicest places to stay in Margarita.
There are 5 pools - two large baby pools, three large adult pools.
There is always some activities in and around the largest pool, however there is no kids camp where you can drop off your children for a couple of hours.

Lots of rooms, different buildings, shuttle buses every 5 mins.

Food is good, lots of localized food.

Service is excellent.

While there are persons there who can speak Spanish, it is best you learn just a little bit of Spanish to communicate.

Room Tip: Always choose a tour operator.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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6  Thank Andre_Thompson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2013

We travelled as a family of 5 adults in February/March of 2009. At time of travel we found out that they were no longer making flights direct from the UK to Margarita.
We can't say we didn't enjoy our holiday, but we can say they were a lot of things we could and would of changed. We had been told not to accept the first rooms we were put in as they always try and put you in the rooms nearest the entrance, which at the time were dated, and smelt of damp, probably as they weren't used as much as they should have been. We got re located to nearer reception, but because of this we were split up. I had a room to myself 2 floors above my brothers who were sharing a room and my parents were two blocks up the concourse. Not ideal but we made the best of a awkward situation. The only problem we had with insects etc was after they fumigated???!!!!!no complaints prior to that!
The pool area was fantastic, spotlessly clean, 1 gentleman cleaned the pools every day, he was a credit to the hotel! Bar area was ok, they served drinks all day and bought out afternoon tea around 4ish. But didn't understand the concept of hot water to make tea with, kept bringing cold water!
Food was a lot to be desired for, it was very hit a miss. Breakfast was fine, plenty of selection. It was lunch and evening meals that we struggled with. And of top of that unless you got there early, they struggled to seat us, we were only a family of 5, not that big but they panicked if you were a group bigger than 3! We did enjoy the bbq night, I will give thir dues, that was very tasty.
Entetainment group did what they could, they were very talented but it was a bit repetitive. Their 'we will rock you' tribute night was excellent!

All in all we had an ok stay, made better by the friends we made and our own entertainment as a family, but we wouldn't go back there!!

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank Holsamust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2013

Rooms were generally good. The drapes need to be cleaned and fixed to rods. The toilet had to be fixed inorder to flush better. Maids cleaned room everyday. Food was good and there was a variety of things to choose from. Main problem was the unreliable and untimely airline. Krystal Travel knows about this and they should have provided a meal for each passenger and not let us suffer from 2.30 pm to 9.45 pm at Piarco Int Airport to go to Margarita and from 6.45 am check out at Dunes to 2.50 pm when we boarded Estelar Airlines to return to Trinidad. Please be aware that we hardly had time to eat breakfast and we had no lunch. Although we had money, there wasn't any resturant to buy anything at Margarita Airport. I advise you walk with 2 packs of Crix as backup. I am very dissapointed with Krystal Travel for being so unconcerned and heartless to so many kids and seniors on our flight. Be aware of their tour operators, their prices to go to the flea market, waterpark, Dolphin and amusement park are ridiculous. I advise you take a hotel taxi and ask them to pick you up at a particular time. Do not change you US with them you can get a better rate on the beach.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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6  Thank dissapointedtrini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2013

For those of you looking for an honest, realistic review then you should go ahead and read this review. My group consisting of twelve persons recently returned from spending four nights at Dunes Hotel. For most persons on the trip this was our second trip to Margarita, however, on our first visit (April 2013) we stayed at La Guna Mar. Having no major problems with that hotel the group just decided to try somewhere else and experience something new.

VACATION DATE: 4th August 2013 to 8th August 2013

FLIGHT: Be prepared for delays ESTELAR charter used by PHIL TOURS 658-4533 (the best travel agent) is not as bad as the other charters. Give them a call and book you getaway. Do not book a flight that leaves Trinidad anytime after 4 in the afternoon you will not get to Margarita until midnight, yes those other charters can be that bad

LOCATION: Dunes is approximately 45 minutes from the boulevard and the airport and about 35minutes away from SAMBIL mall. For us distance was not a problem since most of us are from the North Eastern side of Trinidad so we are accustom to long distances to and from the airport and to and from shopping areas. La guna mar is a mere 15 – 20 mins from the Boulevard, Airport and Sambil Mall.

EXCHANGE RATE & SHOPPING: Do not change all your US dollars on the bus transporting you to the hotel. The going rate is 1US to 30 Bolivars, tour guides give you 1US to 25 Bolivars. Inquire in the lobby about where you can get your money changed.Shopping is great shop, shop, shop you can get it all perfumes, clothes, handbags, shoes, electronics, bed spreads as well as kitchen utensils and for those of you who may need an extra suitcase you can get one for a reasonable price (I know I had to buy one). Ask the taxi to take you to the boulevard shopping there is great. The Sambil mall also offers nice options but like all malls there are some cheap stores and some expensive stores. Trinidadians have a way of finding bargain stores so I know you trinis will find the bargain stores. Before I forget if it’s a group of you do not take the trips offered to the mall or boulevard by the tour guides u can pay for a taxi split up the cost with the members in your group and pay way less to go to and from your destination. Just let the taxi know what time you want to be picked up. Inquire from the front desk about taxi service.

ROOMS: So my group booked PREMIUM rooms and if you are going to Dunes you should do the same since these are new. The air condition is great, rooms are clean, the bathrooms are also clean and well maintained. If you want your towels changed drop the dirty ones on the floor in the bathroom area otherwise they will not be changed daily. Each room has a balcony which was a definite plus for me and I had a pool view so I could come outside, sit and enjoy the view daily. Please note that this hotel is a huge compound with a central lobby area with several apartment buildings, the Premium wing being the newest. Fear not u can use the restaurants, bars, pools anywhere on the compound you are not restricted to using one area. There are regular shuttles to transport you around the compound. You should note that each building consists of three floors and there are no elevators but remember pack light because you will be doing a lot of shopping on the island so your suitcases would be light going up, coming down is not a problem. Additionally you will need the exercise if you fully indulge yourself in the all you can eat buffet.

POOL: Looked a little questionable the first night we arrived but by morning time looked clean and inviting. This was the general appearance of the pool for the days we spent at the hotel.

FOOD: The Beach Bar is definitely the best. The pasta at the TILPIA restaurant is great and the chefs although their English is limited try their best to please you. You can definitely find something to eat, for the non adventurous and health conscious there is lots of vegetables and fruits. We did not try the other restaurant.

ENTERTAINMENT: This was the down part for me unlike at La Guna Mar the shows held at Dunes were in Spanish only there was no one translating to English. So although I can understand a few words because of the speed at which they were speaking we were completely lost so attending these shows made no sense. Additionally while at La Guna Mar the DJ at the disco played trini music here was strictly Spanish. The cinema was non operational at the time of our visit. The spa was great and you should definitely check ANA for your manicure and pedicures.

The hotel needs to ensure that its emergency alarms are functional at all times, proper emergency escapes should be identified. Emergency signs should be in both English and Spanish. All in all a good vacation. For those of you expecting a five star hotel for the money you paid you are being highly ridiculous and quite frankly you should stay here in Trinidad and go to the HYATT see how much you will pay for an all inclusive at a five star hotel. As I always say be realistic and keep an open mind everyone’s experience is different.

Room Tip: Premium Rooms only ask for tower 53
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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31  Thank Tocolady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2013

Be prepared to waste 2 days in the airport. The La Perla flights are unreliable with no redress for lost time. Check out remains 12:00 pm regardless of the time of your departure. However, the management allows visitors the courtesy of enjoying the other facilities until confirmation of check in time at the airport since it changes frequently. Sharpen up on your Spanish. Taxis can be acquired at your leisure for much less than the tour operators fee to visit shopping areas. Check the board in the lobby to maximise your entertainment experiences. Great spa! This facility needs to install fire escapes and working emergency equipment.

Room Tip: Do not get rooms in the same building with youth groups if you are looking for peace and quiet. Ther...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank evechevy24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort

Address: Calle Campo Elias | Sector El Pueblito, Pedro Gonzales, Margarita Island 2000, Venezuela
Region: Venezuela > Insular Region > Coastal Islands > Margarita Island > Pedro Gonzales
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Price Range: £45 - £116 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 578
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Also Known As:
Dunes Hotel And Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel Margarita
Dunes Resort All Inclusive Beach
Dunes Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort Margarita Island, Venezuela

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