After sixteen trips to Playa Dorada this is my first time at this hotel, it is well worth the extra few dollars. Only Iberostar is better but it is isolated and the beach is not nearly as nice (although there are a lot fewer vendors).
Although the menu became routine with very few new items (especially at lunch) the food was fresh and plentiful. As a salad lover it was nice to have veggies with natural flavour and not in some sort of "sauce". On certain evenings staff made side salads, once we even had smoked salmon and the cheese table was great..
Standard room was great, very clean and away from the noise by the pool and Paradise club. Previous reviews helped and we were in 2130.
Clean tables in the buffet were plentiful with cloth table cloths and napkins. Two large non smoking and one smoking sections were quite adequate. There was never a wait or hunt for a clean table.
Hotel staff were very pleasant and organized, most spoke English, many spoke French and also German. The front desk was exceptional with quick efficient service unless there was a long line from a new "bus". Bar staff were great, especially Louis at the upper pool bar who has been there for about fifteen years.
As usual the beach was great, some wind the first week did discourage some who stayed at the pool. There was always a lounge to be found, lots of shade at the beach any time but you must be out early to find an umbrella by the pool.
Coming from Ontario is was very pleasant to find ~80% of the guests speaking mainly English. Many come from the UK, east and west Canada, etc.. I have been to too many DR resorts in the past where it was difficult to find someone who could understand you.
The internet system is terrible and causes a lot of confusion and loss of guests time and money. You must buy by the half or hour and then log in. Once logged on if you end up with a "Spanish" keyboard it is very difficult to communicate as many regular keys do not type the same symbols. When you are logged on there is no indication of how much time you have left before your time runs out? Many inexperienced guests type emails until they get a notice that "hot mail can not connect". You have then lost your email and timed out.
The other problem is that people do not log out correctly and the next person uses their time or it just runs out?? Wireless internet is available for the same price and seems to work well. If communication is important to you it is well worth bringing your own (if you can keep it safe).
The beach vendors need to be more regulated, although they normally do not harass you there are so many that you can not go more than a couple of minutes without one passing by.
Room maid service is lacking, a couple of times we had to find one as our room had not been done and we also found that some maids had to cover twice as many rooms as they were short staffed.
Evening entertainment is sadly lacking, the same people doing the same dances, etc.. But after working the pool all day how much energy do they have left? Even changing the back drop once in a while would be an improvement.
Safety, one couple had their new video camera stolen at the show with wedding pictures, etc.. Do not leave valuables unattended, common sense.
From Friday to Sunday there does appear to be an influx of local Dominicans which tends to make the place crowded, and disturbs the routine..
Wow, the buses actually arrive on time this year.
The cable car is fantastic if you get there early and on a clear day. It is part of one City tour. We booked with a guy in the Plaza this year, bit of a mistake, saved $20 but ended up walking all through Puerto Plata city in 90F, pollution, and many motor scooters. Only six of us with one French couple so everything had to be repeated twice. Also the fort is nice if you have not seen it yet. Not sure about the jewellery stops as they look a little sketchy. If you are interested in jewellery try the "Rainbow" upstairs in the local Plaza. I have delt with them for years, they do repairs, custom work and all at a very reasonable price.
Horse back riding (if you are into it), do not miss it as you get to visit the real Dominican.
- 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
- VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort Dominican Republic/Puerto Plata