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“10 years on the hotel could do with a revamp”

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Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Reviewed 27 January 2014

We first stayed here 10 years ago and had a great holiday, we still had a good holiday but the rooms have definately worn and need a spruce up to bring it back to its former days, however, I wouldn't recommend spending too much time in your room because the sun, sea and sand is what it is all about. Security feels like it has changed a lot since we were last there, we were waking down the beach and another visitor called us back. They didn't speak English but gave the impression that we were at risk of physical harm if we proceeded. There is a lighthouse on the beach that we previously walked up all the time on our last visit but felt we couldn't do this either. We weren't told of any restrictions upon our arrival.

The staff were really friendly and if they knew you spoke a bit of Spanish they would make you use it, which was great as I am learning the language. I would recommend that they put another receptionist on at night when they are expected new arrivals. There was one man who seemed quite harassed when we arrived at 00.15 on a Sunday morning. I was impressed though that they didn't let other guests push in just because they don't have the politeness to queue and wait their turn like us Brits do!

The animation team were very good although I only observed from afar because they didn't speak English but every day they did a dance around the pool which was very entertaining. The guys on the poolside bars mix up great cocktails.

The food got a little boring, but that's not uncommon when you go all-in.

I would still go back as it is a great location for some winter sun. I hope some investment is available to just smarten the place up again. Oh and one more thing to watch, a taxi will not cost more than 300BS from the airport to the hotel. We were ripped off, quite honestly it was one of those moments when you know it stinks but you are so exhausted from travelling that you just don't register the warning signs.

I can't remember their names but the two guys on reception (one visited Lincoln in the UK) were very sweet and helpful throughout.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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4  Thank Rebekah K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 January 2014

A little late on this one...... First off I loved it there. The hotel is what you make of it. Its definately run down and by far not the nicest place I have stayed. Beach is nice but not the crystal blue water you would be used to in varadero or cancun. Food was not great but there was always something to eat. Hamburgers by the pool were awesome. The hotel has a disco and it was awesome some nights and dead others. We had an awesome group so this was not an issue. Drinks are great. As strong as you want. Bartender will pour you a full glass of pure rum or tequila if you ask for it. The best thing about venezuala is that everything is rediculously cheap. An almost 3 hour cab ride one night came out to about 12$ Canadian. Bottle service in a club in Porlamar will run you less than 20 dollars drinks and ice included. Change your money at the hotel. While i was there the rate at the bank was 4 bolivars to one dollar, and 17 to 1 at the hotel. Another thing that was great about this hotel is that most of the tourists here are south american. Was awesome meeting new people from different cultures.

Room Tip: Convert your money at the hotel.... litterally ten times better than the rate you will get at any ba...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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5  Thank mtljoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2013

Normally, I enjoy giving detailed reviews. I am a well seasoned traveler and my expectations we not high on this trip. It's Venezuela, I wasn't expecting much at all however, I was so disgusted with this place I will just give you the basics.

You need to understand that it seems these Venezuelans don't care about their customers like Cuba or Mexico, they don't understand that travelers like us help their economy and things are just going to go downhill I suspect unless they improve their attitudes. Tipping made no difference whatsoever at this hotel.

We stayed in a normal room, not the premium and as we were checking in I even gave the gentleman at the counter $20 for a clean room! We were so appalled at the first room and requested a change immediately after which we were shown 6 rooms until we finally just gave up and settled on the least worse because there were no premium rooms available. Rooms had the following problems; mold trimmed baseboards, door adjoining to other rooms wouldn't lock, brown towels, corroded bathroom fixtures, next to no lighting, exposed wire from the wall behind my headboard, very uncomfortable bed, very old decor, incredibly slow wifi, the list goes on. Also, regardless of how much we tipped the housekeeping was also unacceptable.

The food was gross, old, and mostly frozen but, this is to be expected as the country has limitations on food which comes in by boat especially meat. Also, don't expect to get real juice, milk, fresh fruit or fish. Most of the time we were able to find one or two palette-able items so we just loaded up on that. Don't even get me started about the drinks with next to no alcohol in them. My best food experience was a coconut I found that had fallen off a tree by my room which I devoured.

The beach was ok and the walk down to the cove was ok if you can get past the smelly cesspool where I think the hotel dumps their used water, yucky... Walking up to the lighthouse isn't recommended due to the bandits that hide in the bushes only to come out and rob you. My saving grace were the two women who offered massages on the beach off to the right. The hotel offered massages too but, their masseuse was rude and said there was nothing available for the next two weeks.

You should also note that this hotel is very popular for all of the Venezuelan families from the mainland who come with all of their children who run around unattended. Also, all of the employees seem to be nice and friendly to them but, not to the tourists from other countries. Also, we were harassed about timeshares and by the same people over and over. I kept trying to be polite saying no thank you but, they persisted. To give you an idea after 6 days I broke down crying and I screamed at her "I see you everyday, and everyday you harass me, and every day I tell you I HATE this hotel, Please leave me alone!", people started clapping...

And finally, the cats... Look at my nickname, I love cats! But, this hotel is filled with feral cats and kittens and the staff seriously abuse them, like in front of us! I can't go into details because it was so depressing and disgusting. A waiter even told me what they do to them when they catch them...not good...

The only fun we had was going out with Steve and Marcella from Crusin n Style, they do tours on the island, and I wish I had met them on the first day to learn the ins and outs of the island and the people.

If you are just planning on sleeping there then this hotel may work for you . I'd rather stay at a non-inclusive, go to restaurants and buy my own liquor. An all around really horrible hotel, I could go on but, I see no point...

Room Tip: If you don't get a premium room don't go!!!
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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8  Thank MeowMeowPurrPurr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2013 via mobile

Lets start with the only part worth 5 stars - the beach! Beautiful and clean. Thats it!

Now to the actual hotel; poor maintenance... Even what they call the 'premium area' works poorly. Bathroom feels more like a 2 star place - door didn't close, no hot water on a rainy day, brown water coming out of sink, WC leaking, very old and worn out shower towels, even the bed sheets! The bed cover is moosted.

Wifi works if you are lucky. Only in the lobby, not really in the assigned areas.

Food is average if you are kind... Especially B-fast is sooo poor of choices.

The service! Ouch, the eternal problem of this country: very few employees greet, the barman doesn't always have what you want and doesn't say it friendly, you order something and doesn't come or come very late. The drinks are a joke!

The swimming pools are many and quite ok, but the few pillows available for the chairs are so filthy, you rather not even touch them. Otherwise the pool areas are fine, but more like a 3 star level. Sometimes you dont get your beach towels at the pools, and nobody tells you anything, since they simply leave the counter...

You might think I am a grumpy European complainer - but no, I very often give 4 or 5 stars to places deserving it, but this hotel is a joke with too many stars on their letterhead - somebody please take away at least 2 of them!!!

Stayed: December 2013
2  Thank Petsko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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
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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: £46 - £110 (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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