We stayed at this hotel from Nov 18-23. As the week before US Thanksgiving; the resort was not very crowded and quite quiet, which was what we were looking for.
Apart from the flight delays getting here from Miami everything went smoothly. Note that if you are flying on AA from the US there is 1 flight from Miami each day to POP. Took a taxi from POP for $35 USD. Driver was great, spoke English, and gave a brief overview of Puerto Plata on the way to the hotel. There were no issues with check in. Since we arrived around 5 PM there was no line. We got an upgrade to a king ocean view which I had requested prior to my arrival via email to the resort. We received a welcome rum punch and were brought to our room immediately.
We were in the catalina building which faced away from the pool, where most of the activity was centered. In our room you literally heard nothing at night when all the music, dancing, etc was going on.
As for the room, it was basic but had nice touches. There were flowers in the bathroom, and our bed had a fresh flower bud each day on the bedspread when the room was cleaned. Mini fridge was stocked daily and had fresh water, beers, and soda. TV was old but we really didn't watch much TV. The AC worked great. We were definitely very cold at night in our room which we like! The rooms are energy efficient so when you leave all appliances turn off. Bed left something to be desired. Unless you really like a firm bed and lumpy pillows you will probably be uncomfortable on the beds here.
The resort was well maintained and clean. The restaurants were all decent and the buffet the same. For the a la carte restaurants I made our reservations on the first morning of our arrival for all days and got booked at all 3 of them. Please note that they are closed more days than listed on your arrival information-most were closed 3 days of the week so we had to plan to make sure we could eat at all of them. The food at the a la cartes was good, I would rank them all fairly equal. We only ate dinner at the buffet twice based on how long we stayed there; and I can understand that if you were at this hotel for longer than a week you might want more options since you can only eat at the a la carte restaurants once per week.
The pool area was nice and not extremely crowded when we were there. You can go to the "quiet pool" across the way near the tennis courts and literally nobody was there. The pool bars had good service and drinks were generally pretty good. The beer on tap is Presidente and Brahma is in the room. That's it for beer and then full selection of well mixed drinks. The pina colodas, daquiris, etc were all pretty good and mixed drink menu were all well made. Many people had mugs/large cups they brought with them due to the fact the cups are very small so something to consider if you don't want to go back and forth for refills.
In my opinion the best part of the hotel was the beach. There was beautiful water, nice white sand, and plenty of cabana/palapas to lounge under. The lounge chairs were comfy and towels nice. We did a massage on the beach one day from one of the vendors walking around and it was great. $40 USD for 1 hour which is very reasonable.
The hotel has snorkel equipment which we utilized almost everyday to snorkel near the resort. It was not great snorkeling location but it was free so it was nice to have something to do. We did book a snorkel tour to Sosua from the Sea Pro booth right on the beach. We paid $35 for a "2 reef snorkel"...definitely not 2 reefs. You could pay for the 1 reef and probably see the same amount of area we did. Also compared to some destinations in the Carribbean or Mexico the snorkeling here in POP was not very good. But again, the weather was nice, it was fun, and we got to see some of the local culture. Just remember to negotiate with Sea Pro...they will bring down the prices.
Overall, for a beach and relaxtion trip this was what we got. The beach was very nice and that is definitely where we spent the most time so it was enjoyable. POP is not a Cancun or Puerto Vallarta-the DR in this part of the country is not as touristy, or developed. But if you want a relaxing trip and time to enjoy the water and sun this place is for you.
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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