We have traveled to the large majority of the Caribbean vacation hot spots. We have yet to return to the same resort twice as we enjoy new experiences. This was our second visit to the DR, but the first to Puerta Plata.
We stayed at the Gran Ventana March 15-22, 2014. The trip to the resort was quick!! Upon arrival proceed directly to the front desk to check in, do not wait for your luggage as it is stored by the entrance until your rooms are ready. Once rooms are ready you are given a receipt from the front desk to give to bell hop and they in turn take your luggage to your room(s). Our rooms weren't ready until 3:30pm so we explored the grounds and were very pleased with what we observed. What others had reported as old and/or dated we saw as rustic and having character...
There were five in our group ranging from 16 to 54. We had two adjoining rooms on the ground floor in the Saona Building and we had a third room in the Catalina building. A request at the front desk easily switched the rooms so we were all together after the second day.
The resort is well laid out and it is quick to get anywhere within the complex. It is very cozy and to be honest it was so comfortable that it felt like we had been there before. No complaints about the layout what so ever.
The staff were excellent, consistently 100% great to deal with. Our maid was so nice and enjoyed hearing our newly learned spanish after the daily lessons. We left a few US dollars per room each day and some little treats for her to snack on. The entertainment crew were wonderful and our teenagers made quick friends with them all. When the manager, Oscar, goes out of his way to talk to you almost each day, it makes you feel welcomed to be there.
The food was great in both the buffet and the A la Cartes...there was something for all of us everyday, we were never bored with the selection, it was more than I would see at home in a week :) Book your A la Cartes and the seating time for the managers night(Wednesday night) as soon as possible to get an early seating. This is done in the Beata Building lobby, located past the tennis courts towards the plaza. The booking desk is open from 8am to 4pm each day. We had all of our meals at 6:30 pm except for the Managers night which was 7pm.
We divided our time equally between the beach and the pool, both are great!!! We were early risers so getting chairs were no problems, they tend to go quick and by mid morning the pool chairs are gone. By 0630-0700am the beach shelters are getting hard to get. People, including us, would save them with towels while they grabbed breakfast and then return to use them for the day. We did not see many saved chairs that were not quickly filled after breakfast. There were lots of chairs also available in the shaded tree areas just behind the beach shelters. At various times through the days chairs were always becoming available at both sites.
The vendors on the beach were very polite and friendly, we had great conversations and they were not pushy at all. The ladies bought several items from several vendors throughout the week, they do dicker with price to a point so don't be afraid to negotiate. It helps if you have visited the Playa Dorada complex just outside the resort to compare prices for your souvenirs, this lets you know what the going price ranges are. The vendors prices start higher but will go lower in most items, but not all. I purchased coffee cheaper at the mall then on the beach( the coffee is great!!!!!!)
My daughter and I enjoy snorkeling and there were a lot of fish in the reefs directly in front of and to the right of the life guard tower, we were able to take good pixs and some video.
We met a great guy on the beach, Diomedes Parra, or "Dio" as he calls himself. Dio works on the beach and offers to sell the excursions. He is a no pressure guy and we talked at length almost every day, I highly recommend him as he treated us very good. If you want to reach him before you arrive to see what he offers his email is email@example.com and his cell # is 1-829-875-7636.
We did the city tour and the cable car. It was really good and our group had a private van so we could pick and choose our options, the driver "fabio" was a great guy and took you where you wanted to go. We went to the Brugal Rum Factory for a tour. It was interesting and we sampled rum in their showroom/retail outlet. We bought several bottles of rum for $4-$5 each, (they went for twice that price at the duty free airport store.)
Due to our dinner reservation we chose to cut our excursion short so we missed out on seeing the mall, the fort and Neptune's Island. As we had already purchased our souvenirs from the vendors and/or the mall I would have passed on the flee market(four small stores) and the amber jewelry factory. We did however locate items we were unable to find elsewhere. The cable car was cool and the views were great. At the top there are people to take your photo's using your own cameras, they know exactly where you should stand and how to pose to get pixs of you and the statue of Christ. It looks like you are holding is hand, his arms, holding him in your hands, etc. They do not want tips but they are however store owners and their stores are located inside the building under the statue. They want you to buy stuff from their store as a trade off for the pixs...they were slightly more aggressive but did dicker on price. We bought some jewelry, a coffee mug and a key chain. It was a win win for all. If we would have done a morning trip we could have visited all the sites.
The drinks at the resort are good, the best drinks we found were the paralizers, sombreros and the margaritas. I for one really enjoyed the Presidente Beer. We bring the bubba mugs to keep our choice of beverage nice and cold. They also doubled as a great tea mug for the early morning.
The night time entertainment was good, there is a pre-show and then the main show. While we were their the Wisconsin Band "the Jimmy's" were there and provided a live concert for all the guests, it was a wonderful treat and a great night.
The shows end about 11pm, for the few nights we went to bed early we could still hear the show from our room, but it did not go late so it wasn't an issue.
To close off my review and reflect on the overall experience, I realize everyone has their own comfort levels, expectations and perceptions...this trip for us was one of our best. It felt like we had been here before and it was like visiting an old friend, it was very relaxing and comfortable. Would we return again in the future, you bet we would!!! Loved it x 5.
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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