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“Mediocre at best.”

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 June 2014

I'm not sure how this hotel has gotten such good ratings... I agree with the other person who thought that perhaps they've been buying reviews because this hotel was a complete let down.

OVERALL: Save your money and go to Mexico. It's an outdated hotel, with a teeny tiny buffet. The weekend locals make for an unbearable three days. Everything about Puerto Plata makes you feel like these people consider you an ATM. Waste of money and waste of time. Terrible terrible terrible.

FOOD: The buffet food was good. They had a majority of healthy options. However, the buffet is tiny. The hotel advertises 500+ food options, which is a complete lie. Unless they are counting every item served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including all of the a-la-carte items, AND condiments it is impossible that there are 500 items. They have a small salad bar, one choice of soup, one small dessert area, two rows of hot dishes (maybe ten items on each) and a grill that has a small number of meat choices. Little was offered in the way of snacks, between 5 & 630pm there are no snacks, and between 11pm & 2am you can get a hotdog or hamburger, nothing else.

ENTERTAINMENT: Activities were poorly done, they never had a schedule up of what was being offered or what time. I missed the water aerobics on the two days they had it, and it was offered at different times. The nightly shows were okay, but they only had two actual shows that consisted of dancing (that were very similar). The other nights they had karaoke or just music. Shows lasted an hour at most. The entertainment team however were the most friendly people on the ressort, and were fun to talk to.

ROOMS: We paid for an upgraded suite room. It claimed to have a living area, which was two extra chairs and a small table. Not worth the extra money. The other rooms were just as good. The ocean view is blocked by a lot of trees but is still nice to look at. There is no mini-bar in the rooms. You get two cans of beer, two cans of pop, and a jug of water. (Not bottled water, it's refilled water

LOCATION: The hotel was located in a small area filled with hotels.. It was quite safe, but not much in the way of other restaurants or night life. About 20 minutes from airport.

BEACH: The beach was nice. Not white sand, but still pretty. They cleaned out most of the seaweed and rocks, until about a four foot depth. The venders on the beach were relentless however. You couldn't sit for thirty seconds without someone else coming to try to sell you something. Usually hotels have a line set up where venders cannot go past, this hotel does not. It was so bad that we ended up at the pool most of the time. If you want to swim in the ocean, I would suggest going straight to the water, bringing no shoes or towel, and go straight back to the pool.

MAIDS: Maids were wonderful. They did a pretty good job with the rooms, considering that they are so out dated.

LOCALS: Apparently this hotel gives weekend rates to the Domincan people. On Friday afternoon, hundreds of local families came pouring in. The pool was completely filled, if you looked at the pool, all you could see was a sea of black hair, you couldn't even see the water anymore. Almost all of these people went into the pool with their clothes on, and would then walk soaking wet to their rooms, without having used a towel, leaving all the floors and staircases dangerously wet. I also never once saw a parent take their child to the washroom, not once in SIX HOURS, so I can only imagine how much pee was in that pool. The buffet which is already tiny becomes packed. You can't find a sear and You can't even walk through the crowds. Good luck getting a dessert because these people take twelve at a time. We had to request an additional a-la-carte to get away from the insanity at the buffet. They also completely take up the entertainment seating, which becomes a 100% spanish show for those two nights. The tourists were banished back to their rooms the whole time these locals were there, and only after they left Sunday (they got a late checkout time of 3 and 4 pm) did I see the tourists come back out.


EXCURSIONS:
DO NOT GO HORSEBACK RIDING. These animals are not taken care of at all. We had to stop our trip with the horses early because I did not have the heart to make these horses finish their ride. Their bridles don't fit properly and the horses' mouths are rotting out. My horse only had two teeth left. They also didn't stop to give the horses a snack or water and it was over 40 degrees outside.

27 Waterfalls trip - This was an okay excursion. The name is misleading however, because we only went to 4 small waterfalls. This trip includes hiking,stairs, climbing, and a decent amount of swimming, I would suggest it for only the physically fit. We had a few older ladies with us, and an overweight couple, and they struggled a lot. It took us an extra two hours to do this part of the trip, and we were left waiting in freezing cold water while the guides tried to figure out what to do with these people. This trip included visits to see the villages, a cigar factory, and where they make the coffee... Their goal of this is to get you to buy as much as possible, and it makes you feel very uncomfortable. the trip was 6 hours (took us 8) and 75% of it was focused on getting us to buy more things.

NOTES: There are little children without clothes/shoes on all over the place begging for money... DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY. They skip school hoping to get this money... DO NOT GIVE IT TO THEM. Their education is much more important.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank April A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Resort_Team, Manager at VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 26 June 2014

We would like to assure all TripAdvisor readers that Gran Ventana has never, and will never, buy reviews. We are lucky enough to have amazing guests stay with us year after year who are passionate about our hotel and our staff and who want to share their experiences here with the world. We invite all readers to also visit our Facebook page where our guests also contribute tales from their visits to Gran Ventana.

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Reviewed 22 June 2014

Okay, so this review is specifically for girls travelling together. We've been travelling from NC and shuttle service that you can sing up for online prior to your arrival is VERY useful. It took us about 10-15 minutes to get to the resort. Behind the gates you are pretty much safe, except there are ocassional beggars and sellers walking along the beach and offering stuff. Somebody stole my flip-flops while I was swiming and my friends were taking pictures. And no, there were not drowned in the ocean, they were stolen. Then, City tour...unless you want to be dragged all over city bazaars, pressured to buy their @authentic@ dominican souvenirs, pass this one. Arrange a cab to go directly to the cable car stop, where you can get to the top of the Mountain. At night we went to Coco Bongo, apparently that's were locals go? because we have not seen any tourists there that night. The hotel itself it clean, easy to navigate, we loved FOOD! One night we went to the french restaurant on the beach, but you have to walk about 15-20 minutes down, towards the Mountain, since it does not belong to the hotel, but it is worth it! Gran ventana's restaurants were good too. Their entertainment team is excellent! Thank you guys for everything! However, there is not a lot to do at night, except going somewhere outside or eating at the restaurant. We spent our evenings relaxing under beach cabanas, which is exactly what I needed.

Room Tip: get junior suite in Catalina building facing the pool
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Tetyana O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 June 2014

Having just returned from Gran Ventana Beach Resort, we felt it only fair to subit our comments whilst at the same time reiterating comments of past guests who have visited the hotel and taken the time to explain how happy they were.
Now it is time, after just returning from our vacation, to praise the cleanliness and super staff who were always willing to go the extra mile to ensure a truly fantastic vacation.
Unfortunately, staff who helped us are way too numerous to give additional accolades to, but there are some who really stand out in our memory. For instance, Oscar Lorar, General Manager who made it very clear on our first evening he would do everything in his power to ensure a perfect stay. We are longtime travellers to many countries and have visited hotels in the Playa Dorada complex since the 1980's, but never have we experienced such sincere comments; plus many lovely surprises thereafter.
The Animation Team, especially Carlos Santana, never failed to forget the much older client, seemingly too shy to be the only participant in the water aerobics class, so he went to the very utmost by encouraging guests at in their volleyball game to come join in the fun and thereafter called her to join them. This person needs to be mentioned because he is the special one.
If not already mentioned the public washrooms were immaculate, decked out with fresh flowers and burning candles providing a lovely effect. Water fountains both in the lobby and restaurant were playing non-stop.
In all of our travels never have we experienced such charm and kindness and we will not hesitate to recommend this "gem" and its staff. We hope our comments will be seen by all the workers as a special "Thank You" who helped make our week memoriable.
We would like to share the stories of the special little things we encountered during the week, but it is our recommendation you go and see for yourselves and we hope like us you will not be disappointed. We, for sure, will not be waiting too long to see our friends once more.

Room Tip: We asked for a room in a quiet area on third floor close to the ocean and received exactly what we a...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank sheilita21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 June 2014

Resort Cleanliness and Food:
The resort is beautiful and our room was very clean, the staff is absolutely amazing. The food at the buffet is okay but the food in the three restaurants was very good. I recommend not eating any beef if you can avoid it, the chicken was always good but the beef made me sick to my stomach.

Excursions:
DO NOT GO THROUGH THE HOTEL. We made this mistake to go snorkeling (half a day), jet skiing (30 min), and parasailing (1 hour) and ended up paying more than we would have ($200 US). If you go out on the beach right behind the hotel you will be immediately bombarded with people selling all sorts of things. There are men on the beach who dress very nice and have big booklets of information on all the excursions they offer. It seems kind of sketchy at first because you're handing some random guy on the beach a stack of money but we paid for dune buggies (half a day), a hike through the jungle to natural water slide, with stops at coffee/cocoa bean farm, cigar factory, and limestone cravings (all day excursion with lunch), and a city tour with cable car ride to the top of a mountain over looking the city (little longer than half a day). None of these disappointed ($250 US). I highly recommend these, they were the Jeep safari tours, Neury was the guy who sold us all of these trips from the beach.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Devon T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2014

First off, I have never written a review of any place I have visited, yet felt like this resort deserved it! I've never been treated with such excellent hospitality, delicious food, great service, and so many smiles! This all inclusive is worth a bang for your buck, you will not be disappointed. The drinks are well prepared, the food is hot and delicious, the management is organized and welcoming, and the entertainment team is amazing! I promise you, If no one is making you smile or have a good time, Carlos from entertainment will! This young gentleman truly made my stay more enjoyable. His smile and good vibes are contagious. I also highly recommend doing the jeepsafari tour while visiting, it will be the best decision you can make if you want to learn about the culture and Dominican people. Also don't miss the night time shows and live bands because they are great! All in all, I give this resort 5 stars and will definitely return! It was the best decision I could have made.

  • Stayed: June 2014
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9  Thank Mizzveeh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2014

My husband and I stayed at Gran Ventana for 8 days in the beginning of June for our honeymoon. We had a wonderful experience. The staff was always very friendly and willing to help and the rooms were clean. The food was good and there was a lot of variety; however,we were disappointed with the lack of availability for sit-down restaurants. You have to make reservations for the 3 restaurants and most of the time they are already booked. The only negative about the room was that there are no dressers in the room to unpack and put your clothes in. We also wished the pool was open later than 7pm.

Thank you for making it a great vacation and we hope to be back again soon!

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Thank Anna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2014

Just got back from spending 2 weeks there and it was beyond all expectations. The beach is beautiful and the staff are AMAZING. This is a hotel where your comfort is their priority and you can feel that wherever you are in the hotel. The food is excellent and the variety can satisfy anyone. This was my first trip back to the DR in 12 years and I will be back to stay at the GV for sure. Even the other guests were top quality! Everyone was more than satisfied with everything. I highly highly recommend a visit to the GV, satisfaction and more guaranteed. Congratulations to the GM; Oscar Lora who truly gives his all to make this hotel one that you want to go back to.

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Thank BWhittaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

Address: Playa Dorada | PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Puerto Plata Province > Puerto Plata
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £86 - £251 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 506
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

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