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“Perfect Holiday at DUNES”

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Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Reviewed 16 February 2010

Seeing is believing. My family totally enjoyed our holiday from check in I was well pleased. Like other reviews we stayed in the newer part of the hotel which was a little far off from the main buildings but this did not pose a problem as transport was always available.

The stray cats and dogs left me a bit uncomfortable especially the cats they were even seen at the restaurant jumping through the windows close to your food, but some guests did not seem to mind as they were petting them and loving them as their own.

The food though it taste well lacked variety some dishes were repated over the couple of days I was there. Bar service was exceptional.

Reception staff spoke english reasonably well I was able to get all my questions /queries answered.

The hotel is beautiful the employees swork really hard to ensure the grounds and the rooms are up to standard. The waiters were willing and helpful I never encounted a rude employee.

I did not fancy the beach which was a bit rough, besides I'm from trinidad and I prefer good old Maracas Bay.

To sum it up I enjoyed my holiday. My son cried on the night of our departure he did not want to leave. Our holiday was beautiful. I will definitely return to DUNES.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank TrinidadBabyFace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 February 2010

Well, we decided we liked our week at the Dunes last year so much, we would go for 2 weeks this time. We are happy we did.

We booked our trip through CAA here in Niagara Falls with the tour operator Nolitours. We booked 2 weeks in a deluxe room. We found out when we arrived at the Dunes, it was in building 51. More on the room later.

About 3 weeks before our departure, we heard that the Venezuelan currency was devalued from $1 US = 2.15 BF to 4.3BF. We were unsure what this would mean until we arrived in the country. The impact we found, was that the "parallel exchange" rate was no longer 200% the legal rate, it was only about 25% higher. Almost not worth the risk.

Our trip to Venezuela started early in the morning of January 26th with us heading to Toronto to get our flight. (When parking in Toronto, I highly recommend Skyparx... They are inexpensive, 3 minutes from the airport and your car is running and cleaned off when you return). While waiting for the check-in counter, we met a great couple headed to the same place we were. We ended up spending the majority of our vacation with Randy & Gerda.

The flight this year was on CanJet... a smaller plane, but suprisingly more roomy than Air Transat last year. Uneventful flight... good service.

We were all met at the Porlamar airport by Nolitours reps and boarded the buses for the 35 minute ride to the Dunes.

Check-in was handled in a different manner this year as we were taken to a lounge area where we received our bracelets and keys. We all had several rum punches and so the party began. Cheryl and I rode the shuttle to our room in building 51, near the main entrance of the resort, but not so far we couldn't walk to the main buildings for the pools, bars and beach each day. The area we were staying in had its' own restaurant, pool and bar, apparently only for those that bought the deluxe room. We didn't utilize that feature until our second week as we did most of our activities with our new friends and they were staying in the original section.

Our room was good... king sized bed, balcony, good sized bathroom, small fridge... and everything worked. (I did have to adjust the catch-plate on the balcony door as it was bent... no big deal. I mentioned it to the front desk and they repaired it one day when we were sunning.) Our room didn't have a coffeemaker, and Cheryl loves her coffee, so we asked if it was possible to get one for our room. By the time we got back to our room that day, a brand new coffeemaker awaited us.

The food was good! People that complain about the food at the Dunes need to pull their heads out of a certain orifice and realize they are in a third world country. The food you eat there is NOT going to be the same as at home. If you want food from home, STAY HOME! While I didn't like all that was on the menu, I never went hungry. The food was flavourful and lots to be had.

Staff was, as they always have been to us - polite and cordial. We made an effort to speak Spanish and they made an effort to speak English. We met halfway and eventually got our message across. A lot of the staff even took the time to help us with our pronunciations of words. Our room was always spotless, bed neatly made and always had a supply of bottled drinking water. One day, our maid even came back at the end of her shift to drop off coffee because she had noticed Cheryl was running low. Our building had a security guard on duty 24/7 and he always helped us with our Spanish. One evening, we had consumed 3 bottles of water and were very thirsty at 2:00 am. I went downstairs and asked if he had any bottles available and he proceeded to go to the closest bar and got me 2 of them. just that extra bit of service that made our stay great .

The pools are clean... refreshing... and all located near bars!! Ample chairs... shaded areas... top notch!

The animation squad work very hard to entertain you both with their nightly shows ans activities on the beach and poolside.

The beach is awesome. ENORMOUS waves that were an absolute blast. They do require you to use common sense though and several people apparently forgot to bring that with them and needed some assistance in the waves. Again, many chairs available and a great beachfront bar and restaurant.

The lighthouse adjacent to the Dunes is a Mecca for many guests around 4:30 in the afternoon as this offers some of the most spectacular scenery one can ever see. The mountains inland offers a view that is outstanding. The ocean view is equally incredible, but no words other than breathtaking can describe the sunset seen from this vantage point.

In our first week, we took a tour with Randy & Gerda arranged through a man on the beach known as Bernie. Bernie speaks excellent English and even spent 4 years living in Canada. He took the 4 of us and 2 other couples on a fantastic 8 hour day in a comfortable air conditioned van and even provided beverages throughout the day. We saw many historic sites like ancient forts, a modern lighthouse, a couple of historic churches (one over 500 yrs old) and even took us to the Restinga National Park, where we enjoyed a boat ride through the mangroves. Bernie is highly recommended.

All too soon, it was time to come home. The Porlamar airport is the worst part of the trip. Approximately 3 hours are spent in a lineup for the National Guard to inspect every piece of baggage. A nice surprise this year was no taxes to be paid at the airport as we had prepaid them when booking the trip.

Will we go back to the Dunes? You bet... we are already planning for next year as to what stuff we can leave behind. (As usual we overpacked)

Margarita Island is indeed a pearl. We are going back and we will definitely stay at the Dunes again.!!!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Jimdoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2010

Stayed here with my wife in Jan.Perfect beach,best on the island ,and we went to 90% of the beaches on the island in our rental car.Nice rooms ,kept very clean (dont forget to tip the cleaners).Beach was kept very clean,and the local guys hawking their wares were cool,did'nt hassle you if you said no etc etc,and done good bargins too.
Security staff at the hotel were pleasant and helpful.
Grounds were kept very well.The people who do the tours and have their öffices"set up near /around the lobby were very helpful and nice,,,even when the inquires had nothing to do with them.
Best part of all was the nightly shows,,,,the lead dancer Tiffinay,and all her dancers were FANTASTIC,,,REALY !,and I usualy dread the shows every resort puts on,,but these guys were professionals,,,,,
That was the good part......
THE BAD
Food------same every day I'll repeat,,,SAME EVRY DAY,,,,bland ,very little choice,and serving reheats from one day to the other....Breakfast had boiled patatoes ,,,hmmmmm same patotoes(and other stuff) as the last night and more like that ...No ice cream for desert...rating on the food out of 100-------5,,and only because the coffe con leche was GREAT.
Hotel staff (except cleaners and security)---Very bad attitude,especialy the bar staff (well ,,,most of the bar staff ,not all),not very friendly if you did'nt have any spanish (btw,,I speak spanish so I did'nt get much attitiude from them ,but my wife and other english speakers did have problems).Main reception staff ,,,no manners...sorry ,but I grew up with a please and thank you gracias y de nada,,,,,but dont expect any manners from them there.
Serving Staff in the dining area were slow and could'nt care less attitude,especialy the cook with the scrambled /boiled eggs/ omelettes downright rude.
THE WALK---sorry but when your room is a 8 min walk to the beach ,,,it's a PITA in 30 degrees cel.

I might think about going back though,as the beach was great,,but the price would need to tempt me,along with some assurance that the issues above were resolved.

BTW.Change your american dollars with the beach dudes,,,,their cool and wont rip you off or steal your money,and pay for your rental car in the local currency,,,,If I had paid in dollars I would have paid $498 usd,,,instead of $219 usd in the local currency.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank DECKIE2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2010

We vacationed from Feb 2 to Feb 9, 2010. We had previously stayed at the Hesperia Resort next to the Dunes so we had some experience in Margarita.

We started the vacation on the rough side as our teenage daughter's luggage did not arrive from Toronto. With language barriers we were frustrated as to what the protocol was. Finally we had an airport attendent complete a luggage incident report. With this taking up time we held up the rest of the travellers who were waiting patiently in the bus. We were informed we could get up to $30 a day to a max of $175 for the inconvernience but to make sure we kept reciepts if we purchased anything. With only one flight a week we knew she was not going to get her luggage. She did great and did have a few items in moms bag and her carry on. We only had to by some basics for her.

We arrived at the Dunes and because of the delay we missed the information as to where to go to check in (go upstairs not at the reception counter as you walk in) but we mannaged and of course they had overbooked us. Not a good start and frustrations were settling in.

The manager on duty was great. He asked if we would like an appartment and let us see it before we made a decision. Very nice of him and after viewing it we decided to take it. The room was old and tired, one sink leaked and as others have stated we did get a bit of rusty water at first but not much. No problem with the hot water and with two teenagers who go through hot water I was never without.The beds were hard but I have slept on worse. Lots of room for us and the air conditioner worked great. A word of advice when using the toilets (you had to hold the handle down for at least a count to 14 before they flushed). As I said the room was old and tired and seen bettter days.

The food was OK! I am a fussy eater and not to adventerous but did not go hungry. They tried to mix it up at the buffet but again the food and selection was just ok. We did not get to eat in the a la carte because it was booked. Another tip - book it as soon as you can. There is a beach restaurant that you can order food (hamburgs and fries ect.) and a small buffet. There is also a snack bar back behind the kids pool for the hot dogs and hamburgs. They serve coffee and snacks at the main bar every afternoon. There are lots of cats and dogs running around and people do feed them.

There were lots of bars open for drinks so no problem there, you had to wait at times but I found nothing to serious. Another tip- bring your own insulated mug as they mostly serve drinks in a small platic cup so if you bring your own you can have them fill it up resulting in less return trips and waiting. The beach was great and there were loads of loungers to grab and lots of cabanas to sit under. The beach bar is great. The water was fun but be careful with little ones as the waves can get big with strong under-tows. Use common sense and it is fun playing in the waves. The red flag was up only once so no swimming that afternoon. The weather is always great and hot. Thank goodness for the continuous trade winds to help with the heat. The sun is very strong so be carefull. The beaches are open to the public so you will be bothered by vendors but they are great and a simple no and they move on. The pools are nice and for the most part are always clean. The wind does blow debris in them. The shows at night are ok. There is a disco for after the outdoor shows. They have pool activities throughout the day. There is a cinima that plays movies at night. The games area is fun for kids (ping pong, pool tables and fooseball games). The internet is cheap- dollar for an hour so my teenagers liked it to keep in touch with their friends.

Tip on changing US money- there is all kinds of ways for this. At the hotel, on the beach, taxi driver ect. The going rate is anywhere from 4-6 Bolivars to 1 US dollar. Taxis are cheap to go anywhere, there is also a daily shuttle to the city Polamar for a small fee. We went to Sambil Mall in Pompatar for shopping - its a large mall with everthing you see back home and the prices are no different than at home. We did sneak in a meal at McDonalds.

There are tours to go on - be carefull who you book with as some may be cheaper but so is the meal you get when you are on them. They range from 50 to 75 US per person. Jeep tours, boat tour to a Island beach for the day, snorkeling tour ect.

All in all it was not a fantastic trip but it wasn't bad either. If you are looking for a place to go and relax at the beach or pool and want great weather than no problem. It is not a 4 star in my opinion but a 3.5. We have been to 5 stars and you can not compare this to those. A vaction is what you make of it and we got of to a rocky start but remember you are not in Canada any more and things are different. They do not work by a time clock so be patient but you do have to get pushy at times to get results.

We have been there twice and for me that is enough. To big of a world to see. Spoke with others who went to Lagunamar and they had pretty much the same comments as we do. We got a pretty decent deal (under $1000 with tax) so it was ok. If you book with Nolitours you do not have to pay the exit tax at the airport before you leave which was great. The airport is very slow on the return home. We did get to stop in the Bahamas for fuel on the way home so now I can say I was there for an hour.

One more tip- make a phot copy of your passport page and have it laminated as you sometimes need it when shopping and you can leave your original in the room safe.

I know this was long but hope it helps. Don't be affraid of some of the bad reviews and always remember you are in another country and again its not like the US or Can.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
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7  Thank Ripplinredfin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2010

My mother and I just returned from Dunes on the 2nd of Febuary. We were there a week and truely enjoyed ourselves! We stayed in the Deluxe #51 204 and it was perfect for our needs. The beds were quite hard but did not keep me from sleeping, we only had 3 pillows between the 2 of us but made due. One thing we did feel we needed was a coffee maker and with in 2 hours of asking for one they had one at our room brand new along with coffee, stir sticks, little cups and sugar! The bars were plentiful, pretty much everywhere you went there was a bar or a place to eat. The drinks were great, the beer was even better!! The food was not bad. People need to remember where you are going on vacation. The staff were excellent, looking people in the eye and being thankful for what they serve you goes along way!! We went on the colonial tour with Bernie, we couldn't say enough good about it. They went over and above to please the whole group. The beach is amazing, way too rough for swimming but people always have to try fate....we heard a canadian lost his life while we were down there due to the rough water. We could not believe so many kids were in it jumping the waves, seemed way too dangerous! But the pools make up for it, there is many of them and didn't seem busy at all until Sunday which from what we understood was family day in Venezula. That made for very kaodic buffet breakfast and every other meal for that matter, the pools went from bare to over run by children. We unfortunately got rain one and a half days while there and from what we understand its very rare. Lucky us, we also had a very very windy day but still managed to get a kick [--] tan!!!! The only thing that would hold me back from visiting Margarita Island again was the airport when we were leaving, it was absolutely horrible standing in huge lines for more than 2 1/2 hours so the military and feel thru you luggage. A little intimidating, lots of machine guns and military. Although they were quite friendly. It made for a very long day!

In the end, if you are looking for a place that is absolutely breath takingly beautiful this is the place to go! The mountains are everywhere and so is the ocean and on average the weather was about 35 degrees! the peolpe always seemed to be smiling and quite happy to help in anyway!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank mommiesgetaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2010

First of all, I will freely admit this is not a north american 5 or even 4 star resort. This is, however, a South American resort, and as such it is wonderful! The resort caters primarily to south american tourists who have different expectations and priorities when it comes to their vacations and if you go expecting a north american experience, you will not get it. Maybe the Bahamas for six times the price is a better choice for you.

The staff was wonderful, warm and friendly and always looked after us and made sure we were having a good time. Their english was limited but sufficient for their functions and Nolitours reps were always on hand to help out in case of communication issues. My spanish got much better over the course of the vacation, which to me is a plus! When we had a rainy day (what are the chances!! it almost NEVER rains there in January) they went out of their way to entertain the guests through some pretty bad but very hilarious karaoke. They served coffee and pastries and made the day fun despite the bad weather. The resort also has pool tables, ping pong tables and tv's in common areas that are outside but yet covered in case there is a bad weather day. Its a great way to still enjoy the fresh air while being entertained without being soaked.

The buildings and rooms themselves (we were in the deluxe area) were very clean and surprisingly bug free for such a tropical climate. The quality of the workmanship was, well, south american, so yes, the ceiling tiles in bathroom did move if the balcony door was open, but why would you leave the balcony door open?? Common sense SHOULD tell you that leaving the balcony door open without any mesh in a tropical climate will result in you sleeping together with a bunch of mosquitos, ants and a whole bunch of other crawlers. Our room remained bug and mosquito free for the entire stay by following some common sense. The wind can be very strong on the island, so it does occasionally (one night out of the 7 we stayed here) cause the slop-illy installed windows to make quite a bit of noise at night, but putting a couple of flyers between the window frame and sill as insulation kept our room 100% quiet.

The food was actually surprisingly good. We're both foodies, so I wouldn't call it amazing, but it was good enough for the most part, with a few surprisingly good items once in a while. In addition to the buffet there was always a grill area that would serve up freshly cooked things such as fajitas on mexican night (particularly tasty) and breaded pork chops on one of the other nights. They even had hot sauce and jalapenos which right away made it better than any cuban resort I've been to! The white wine was also surprisingly good!

From the few all-inclusives I've been to in Mexico and Cuba this is by far the best value for money. It has better food than Cuba while being more authentic than any Mexican resort I've been to (and has just as many if not more great excursions). The best part however, and this would be my deciding factor, is the weather and the beach!! Sunny everyday (unless you're as unlucky as we were and get one day of rain) with temperatures between 25 and 32 degrees celcius. Gorgeous beach in a beautiful cove surrounded by mountains with a bar hut right on the beach. Plenty of beach chairs to go around and never at any point feeling crowded. You can get to the beach at noon and still will have no trouble finding space! (not the case in mexico or cuba). Best of all, you truly do get away from home since the predominant language you hear on the beach, is *gasp* spanish not english!

We really loved the holiday and will most likely come back to Dunes if/when we decide to do another all inclusive!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with friends
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2  Thank TravellingCanook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2010

I really enjoyed my stay at the Dunes Beach resort. When we arrived at the hotel they were very welcoming. They greated us with a smile and brought us to our room.

Our room was small but it didn't bother us since we were rarely in it. The only thing was our last night when we went back to the room we had no towels and had to wait about an hour before we did, but they were very apologetic. Other than that the room was very clean, no complaints there.

The food at both the buffet on the beach and in the hotel was good, can't complain, everyday was a different. Even the Italian resturant was very good.

The hotel itself was very big, a lot to do. There were always activities, weather you were lounging at the pool or relaxing on the beach. The animators were very nice, didn't really speak English mostly Spanish but we got to learn the language. Most of the other guests were from Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela which explains why they don't speak much English, but I think that is what I enjoyed the most about it. The bartenders were quick, never had to wait very long for our drinks.

I don't really have anything bad to say about this resort. Venezuela is a beautiful country. I enjoyed this vacation very much and I would defanitly go back.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with friends
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Thank norsMontreal
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: £44 - £95 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort 4*
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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