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Reviewed 28 March 2014

Got back last week from staying here with my 12 yr. old son for a week and have to say i was pretty impressed. It was one of the cleanest resorts I've stayed at. The food was great, even with a 12 yr. old kinda finicky boy.
I loved the smoothie bar at breakfast and they had the best chicken wings at the beach grill!!
The animation team was one of the best I've had also. I have been to the caribbean about 10 times and these guys knew how to have fun and get the crowd going. My son also really loved the pool tables. It was nice to have them so close to the pool so I could stay there and still be able to see him playing a game.
The maids kept the rooms always clean and the beds were pretty comfy.
My only downfall was the last day there, "Sweetie" sold my son a cd of the music that they played there all week only to get it home and find out it was blank. My son was crushed but it was a life lesson for us both.
Other than that, I would recommend this resort and I would probably go back myself.

Room Tip: we had a room on the 3rd floor facing the other resort and it was pretty quiet
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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3  Thank Jane350
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2014

Excelente!! is a word you will hear often at the VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort. We just got home last night and I miss it already. We had never been to an all inclusive resort and only one other time in the Caribbean. We couldn't have asked for a better time.

From the moment we arrived at the airport and our VIP representative greeted us and helped us get on the right bus everything was great. We arrived at the resort and were treated to cold towels (I needed that) and offered a cool drink. While waiting in a short line for our check in. The front desk staff was friendly and informative. Next a very friendly Bellboy took our luggage and lead us to our room. The room was extremely clean and blessedly cool.

The room furniture is nothing special but it is clean and in good working order. We had a room toward the back of the Catalina Building 2241. There was only one VERY hard double bed but we had a partial view of the beach and the room was very quiet, we did not hear our neighbors or the activities at the main pool. We were still in the middle of all the activities and food with only a very short walk.

The pool was a great place to be and although we are nearing our 60's I never felt out of place or looking to move to the smaller sedate Quiet pool. The music and activities could be a little loud at times but they were so much fun to watch or participate in we didn't notice the volume after a few minutes. There seemed to always be something going on, water exercise, a volleyball game or interactive fun and games by the exuberant activity staff. Of course there were also so many people to meet and talk to either in or around the pool, or at the great pool bar. Yes it was better if you went down early to reserve your pool chairs if you have a strong preference, but if you are flexible you can always find someplace to sit near the pool.

The beach was clean and beautiful with large thatched umbrellas and lounges to sit on or under. There are vendors on the beach but if you ignore them keep walking or just said No thank you they would leave you alone. If you do decide you want to buy something be prepared to haggle they may quote $60 but if you counter with $15 you will usually be able to come to a fair price. There is lots of clean sand and beach to take long walks on if that is you desire. We spent most of our time by the pool but did enjoy some walks on the beach.

The food at the buffet was very good, fresh and plentiful. I am a picky eater and do not like too many sauces or hot seasonings but I always found more then enough choices. My husband likes sauces, variety and spicy food he also found he really enjoyed the local favorites that were offered. We ate all but 2 of our meals at the buffet and never got bored. If you go in the evening look for the hostess Nathaly. She is an amazing young lady who keeps on top of all that is happening and always has a smile and a friendly word. At other meals we did sometimes have trouble with drink wait times, of course you could always get your drink at the bar and bring it in with you. We did try the Octopus Restaurant we personally were not crazy about the food or the very upscale ambiance. We were not able to get a reservation at Sapore di Mare Ristorante(we waited too long to try to book, go as soon as possible) we heard it was good. We also went to the Ocean Grill where the ambiance was just right and the food was very good.

All of the staff were friendly and helpful, they always had a smile for the guest and would try to assist even when it was not their responsibility. They kept the rooms and the grounds clean and looking great, you could tell they were continuously working to improve or maintain the property.

We definitely plan on returning to this resort, we made many friends there and feel the value was excelente! If you are looking for a quiet place to veg by the pool or on the beach this may not be the place for you. If you are looking for 5 star facilities this may not be the place for you. If you are looking for cleanliness, fun, activities, good food, friendly people from 2-92 weighing 3 lbs or 300 lbs for a reasonable price this IS the place for you.

I don't think I have ever had a better vacation!!

Room Tip: We liked our room away from the noisy pool and entertainment area. We did have a partial view of the pool. It was room 2241 on the second floor of the Catalina building. If you want real quiet and don't mind the walk the Beata Building is best. If you want quiet and close to activity the beach side of Saona or Catalina Building is better.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank Lindagerr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2014

I read quite many good reviews about this hotel but was disappointed as soon as we checked in.
Firstly the resort is quite small. Buffet food is not bad but it was packed with people and very chaotic. I would suggest the management to put a bigger spoon in the dish so that the spoons don't swim in the food after touched by many. They don't seem to have enough staff to clean up the table after customers leave. Wifi signal is weak. We will stay only for three nights and we are only able to get one reservation at 8:30pm the night before we leave. It is not so nice for short stays.

Pros: The room is bright,cool and with partial sea view. Ac works well. Food is not bad. Staff at checkin is efficient.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Fred E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2014

We are from the US, in our early 60's and this is our 1st trip on a 7-night, all-inclusive, Caribbean vacation. We were at the Gran Ventana as part of a group traveling with The Jimmys Blues Band who were scheduled to play 2 nights of the week.

Cool towels and drinks were provided as we waited for our turn to check in. Our bags were brought to the room quickly. We stayed in the Beatta Building which was about a half block away from the main hotel, lobby and cafeteria. But there was a pool and bar just outside our door. I have 2 knee replacements and I am overweight. The walk to the main area as well as the room on the 3rd floor was fine for me to handle 2-3 times a day.

The room itself was clean and maid service was good. There were 2 queen beds and they were comfortable. The bathroom was dated and needs upgrades to bring it up to the usual expectations of US travelers. The toilet didn't flush completely every time but was ok to use. We did have a huge beetle in our room on 2 nights. Startling but not harmful.

There is lots of good food with local specialties every night. The dining rooms are spacious and cool if you don't sit by the kitchen. Sometimes it took a while to get drinks from the waitstaff but beverages were also available in the buffet area. The staff was friendly and helpful. Some had trouble conversing beyond the basics in English.

We were there for the band's performances and the entertainment area had plenty of seating with good views and good room for dancing. There are lots of male and female hosts who engage the audience to dance. There is entertainment every night but we only attended the 2 nights The Jimmys played.

We loved the beach! It is clean and there are nice lounge chairs available. If no one was sitting on a chair we sat down even if a towel was on it. Never seemed to be a problem. There were lots of adult, licensed vendors selling on the beach area. They were friendly and not pushy. Since I was interested in looking at their items I didn't mind. In fact I was looking for specific things and at least 3 of the people made special efforts to find what I was looking for and came back on following days with that merchandise. One young man spent more than an hour helping me to modify a t-shirt with beads to my desire. Another man waited 4 days for me to pay for a scarf I bought. They are very nice people and enjoy talking to the tourists. However, be sure to haggle for the price you want to pay and be patient.

Since we went as part of a group trip I can't comment on the value of the resort. I think other guests paid less for their accommodations than we did. Part of our cost covered the fares for the performers.

Room Tip: Rooms on the third floor have high ceilings. The Beata Building is quiet and some rooms have ocean and mountain view (on 3rd floor). There are no elevators but the 3rd floor is easy to reach.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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4  Thank JimmysFan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2014

I spent a great deal of time researching this resort on trip advisor and Cheap Caribbean. I was looking for a good, solid rating, for the very best price possible! So we were on a tight budget, and I knew we weren't going to an amazing 5-star place. I just want to tell that part first, because when I see negative reviews about this resort, I'm convinced they are from people who had unreasonable expectations for the resort.

We got a FANTASTIC price for our trip, and stayed 7 days, 6 nights. I feel the Gran Ventana was GREAT! First of all, the food was very good. I loved the fresh juice and smoothie bar in the morning - great made-to-order eggs. We ate at all three restaurants, and had a nice meal at each. Will they blow you away, no... will you enjoy and get plenty to eat and have lots of choices? For sure!

My favorite thing about this resort was the staff. The people were fabulous! I got to practice my Spanish, which is appalling, but the staff were patient and I really enjoyed being able to have conversation in the native language. Service was very good. On our first morning, I spoke with a few cleaning ladies and explained that I'd like Diet Pepsi, Diet 7up, and Diet Presidente (the beer) during our stay.I asked for this instead of the "regular" versions of those drinks that are in the fridge in your room, and restocked every day. I tipped 5 bucks, and the top of their heads almost blew off! We got the drinks I requested for the week, along with adorable towel swans and flowers in the room.

I really loved all of the servers at the restaurant. Our favorite was Augustine. Marika does all of the reservations at the restaurants, and she is a love. If you are polite and smile and say "Thank you" everyone there will love you, and you will love them back! My best guess is that people with negative things to say about the staff were grumpy, entitled, or just plain rude.

I sent an email via the website requesting a Beata room (the quiet building) and I got a lovely email back from Marisol letting me know we were all set! We were very glad to be there, because it gets a little crazy over at the main pool.

Ok, here are some areas where there is room for improvement: All the alcohol is "bottom shelf", which was ok with me, and then people could pay extra for premium. Just a note in case that is a problem for you. Also, there is a lock and key for the room safe, and although a personalized code would be smarter, the key wasn't too much of an inconvenience for us.

Some of the "entertainment" during the day by the pool was a little on the "girls gone wild" side of things. If that is your bag, great! But if you want to chill and want it quiet, either head for the Beata pool or try a different resort. There were many complaints from others on trip advisor about the beach vendors - it really did not bother us in the least. And I was actually worried that it would be so annoying! Not annoying at all, just keep reading, or relaxing, or whatever you're doing, and the vendors will pass you by.

The Beata pool - while quiet and simple, was always FULL of people. I mean that there are not too many chairs, and by 6am ALL CHAIRS by that pool were "claimed" by people's towels. It was annoying, not only because it was intense, but because sometimes people did not show up for their chair for many hours. So there were days my partner and I were forced to go to the loud, main pool, because there was nowhere to sit at Beata. More chairs and a rule about not being able to "claim" your chair so stupidly early would be great.

We had a "suite" in the Beata, which we were grateful for, but it was actually one gigantic room, and so the TV was so far away from us that we couldn't see while lying in bed! I know, this is hardly a problem, but we ended up dragging the dresser with the TV atop into the middle of the room so that we could enjoy a little TV at night. Just a little design flaw.

So, if you are a bargain-loving vacation-goer who wants the best value possible, this is the place for you! If you love super-fancy, and if you need luxury, or if you HAVE to have wifi all the time, then this is not your kind of place. But we loved it!

Room Tip: Beata for the quiet lovers. Also, a nice separation from the hustle and bustle of the main "campus" if you will. Although it does seem that other areas of the resort have been updated, the Beata rooms have most certainly not been, so if you don't mind old-school, then Beata for you!
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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5  Thank Lisa L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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