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“It was still enjoyable the second time around!”

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 41 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Lebanon, Indiana
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“It was still enjoyable the second time around!”
Reviewed 25 July 2014

This was my second time to stay a week at the Gran Ventana. I returned to Gran Ventana because I again traveled solo and this is a safe, small, clean resort with good food, comfortable accommodations, a friendly staff, and great pool/beach areas. The staff is always ready to assist, yet leaves the vacationers alone to enjoy their vacation if that is their wish. I enjoyed all the food, even in the buffet restaurant, mainly due to the wide choice of vegetables at every meal. If a vacationer is paying this type of price for an all-inclusive, he shouldn't expect gourmet dining all the time. The food is hot, plentiful, flavorful, and there are many healthy choices. I recommend this property to people who want a quiet vacation near the pool or beach with a great staff, good service, and good food. I think this place would be too tame for the spring-breaker types.

This time, my entire vacation was handled seamlessly by Beachbum Kathy at beachbumvacation.com. Since I'm having difficulty walking, she even arranged wheelchair service at each airport! Many thanks to Beachbum Kathy and Gran Ventana for a safe and restful vacation!

Room Tip: I like the Catalina Building near the ocean side because I retire early and need a quieter spot than...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank putz_lover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Rooms
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  • Service
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  • Value
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  • Cleanliness
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Camberley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014

Stayed from July 6th to july 20th.
Arrived at hotel and was welcomed with a nice cool drink and cool flannel. Checking in was done quickly. We booked through Thomson's and booked 2 twin rooms and 1 double for a couple and requested to be put on first floor and not ground. Don't know if this information was passed onto hotel as we ended up with 3 twin rooms on ground floor. Rooms were clean but found the beds were quite hard and uncomfortable.
Food at the buffet was good, loved the fresh smoothies at breakfast. The italian restaurant was good but service was a bit poor on our 2nd visit. The ocean grill was a nice restaurant and really enjoyed the food.
Mainly used the main pool and beach, pool bar service was slow and weekends were busy as hotel was open for locals. My husband found the beach bar service excellent, he had not even finished his drink while sitting reading and the bar man had brought him a fresh one over and this happened all the time over the 2 weeks.
The beach was clean and sandy but from about midday the wind picked up and it was like a sand storm. Loads of beach sellers but they were all friendly and if you said no thank you then they just moved on,they were all happy and chatty and we had great fun on knocking down their prices. beach sellers stayed on the beach and did not enter hotel grounds. Enjoyed a pedicure and massage on beach.
The hotel gives daily free sessions for kayak, snorkelling equipment.
Plenty of activities to do during the day if you wanted to join in the pool games, darts etc.
Evening entertainment was ok but did not start till 9.30pm so after dinner everyone was just sitting around, would have like the kids mini disco or something to be in main entertainment area so people had some entertainment to keep them occupied before the main entertainment started. The Michael Jackson show was really good, cocktail party night's were also good. Cocktail list for the whole holiday was amazing, you just have to try them out.
We must admit Blondie was our favourite out of the entertainment team.
The thomson rep was very helpful and happy and always stopped to check everything was ok during the day. All in all it was a good relaxing holiday and would use this hotel again.

Room Tip: rooms 1148 - 1151 in-between beach and pool, quite quiet . Room 1154 is opposite evening entertai...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Brenda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McLean, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 July 2014

This is a comfortable, casual hotel. The main pool is large with plenty of shallow space for kids and a volleyball space for community games. The beach is close and clean. The service staff is polite and helpful. The rooms are clean and bright. There is a shady space for ping-pong and card games. Our kids were a little upset that the bingo game didn't start on time and that the prizes were rum & coffee which the adults among us would enjoy. The magician show was good, the "Mr. Gran Ventana" contest was not great. Food is plentiful. Some complained that internet access was spotty and slow. Some loved that they had to put down their phones and enjoy the ocean breeze.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Marty703
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheshunt, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2014

Everything started out well we had our boarding passes all printed out in advance so check in was much faster we did have to deal with our hand luggage being weighed now but other than that check in was great. Then after breakfast and some shopping we headed to the gate then because of Gatwick’s staff were on a deliberate go slow so as to intentionally cause chaos we didn't even get to board the plane until just after the time at which gate was originally scheduled to close and once on board we sat there for over an hour waiting for our 787 dream liner to be taxied to the runway which made us an hour late to arrive on holiday which again was down to the go slow causing us to miss our original take off window.h

We finally got to Puerto Plata only to find you now have to pay to get into the country which is something we was not told about when booking the holiday. We then got through the airport and off to our hotel, we went to reception to check in and we had to pay $16 a week per room for a safety deposit box to keep our valuables in, I strongly recommend you pay this as one of the lobby cleaners stole my nephews wallet while he was on the wifi so it's essential to keep your valuables locked away at all times and when you need them only take out exactly what you need. If you lose your safe key they don't have spares so they have to destroy the lock by drilling through the barrel then based on how they handle loss of paid wifi tickets I would presume they would sting you for the cost of another safe lock. We saw another guest have to have their safe lock destroyed by the maintenance guy while we were here.

When we got to our rooms we found all three rooms had king sized beds in them which would have been fine if we had all been couples but me and my nephew were in one room my mum and my other nephew were in another room and my sister and her husband were in the third room and they are the only couple among us so me and my nephew had to share a bed for two weeks and my mum had to share a bed with her grandson (my other nephew)

We ate in the buffet the first night then discovered the buffet food is not very good in some cases it is poorly cooked like the chicken still bleeding while it sits there in the trays under the hot lights and the service in the buffet is a bit hit and miss you are often waiting ages for a drinks refill and on occasions they never even took our dirty plates away the whole time we were there for our meal so your eating your desert while all your dirty plates from your main course are still sitting there.

The first whole day here we went to the main pool got a good spot with shade and 6 sun beds but soon found that the main pool had a major issue the swim up bar might as well have been filled with tumble weed as nobody was ever serving in it, about once every half an hour the bar bloke came down the steps from the top section of the bar which serves the land side customers of the pool and would see if anyone wanted a drink and if you then ordered a drink he went back to the top bar to make the drink and bring it back down.

So the next day we moved to the quiet pool to see if that was any better and we meet Jackie a really nice bar maid who makes a cocktail called the Jackie special which if you do go to this hotel you have to try as it is so lovely, Jackie has a weird sense of humour which you have to get used to but she is really friendly and fun to talk to.
We were a bit worried about the quiet pool at first as on our first day at the quiet pool a Little kid stood at the edge of the pool and urinated in it fortunately however the hotel cleaned the pool straight away and put up signs saying “quiet pool adults only” so we haven't had that problem again since. The only issues we have with the quiet pool is that it isn't cleaned frequently so it's often got leaves floating around in it and a white film from where people apply there sun cream and then go straight in the pool before there sun cream soaks in and there's this horrible scum on the top tiles of the pool that only got cleaned after we kicked up a fuss about it to the services manager, also with the exception of 3 rows of tiles to create a nice border at the top of the pool there are not tiles in the pool it's all pure concrete so tread with care and that issue is the same for the main pool too.

Also you have no coffee making facilities in the room at all and the coffee station by the main pool doesn't open until the buffet opens so in the early morning you can often find yourself gasping for a drink. The minibars are supposed to get filled daily but we have had a few days when this didn't happen we phoned reception about it they did nothing I walked to reception in person to ask for minibar to be refilled they still did nothing I had to wait until the Thomson rep appeared the next day and complain to him before anything got done.

The hotels attitude to maintenance is reactive instead of proactive. For example when we first got to our rooms our balcony doors wouldn't lock which in and of itself is a security issue and our light by the wardrobe kept flicking on and off now while after we reported these issues they did get fixed you would have thought that after guests check out they would send someone to check the rooms to ensure they are up to standard with everything working correctly and that they are fit to be used by the next guests that check in.

It is really weird how they so obsessively sweep and mop all the floors in the hotel virtually non stop yet they don't show the same attention to detail in other areas for example some of the lights in both pools are lose and the scum on the tiles on the quiet pool which as I said did get cleaned but the effect didn't last long

On our first Friday here the locals moved in. Literally a load of local Dominican people we're let into the hotel and they got treated like gods by all the hotel staff much to the detriment of the paying guest for example if your in the buffet anytime between midday Friday and midday Sunday you'll find the locals get there own private section of the buffet restaurant all to themselves with balloons and a big welcome sign at that sections entrance and they get waited on attentively while we don't get our drinks refilled or plates cleared away in our section of buffet they get guided tours of the hotel they hog the free wifi so none of the paying guests can use it so your then forced to pay a fortune for the paid wifi just to get internet until the locals leave. The problem with the paid wifi is that reception gets so rammed with locals which is the only place the paid wifi works that it can be difficult to use that even though you have paid for it. While the locals are here they actually man the swim up bar but the local sit up it constantly so none of the paying guests get to benefit from the swim up bar being manned.

One day in a room opposite ours we saw that the roof had caved in on the room where the air conditioning is and the next day we had a note saying they were shutting down the hotels entire air conditioning system so the system could be fully repaired.

The maids who cleaned our rooms were nice so is Jackie at the quiet pool bar and there's this lovely waitress in the a la carte restaurants who gives you great service and there are a few others too but most of the staff don't really care about customer service here, for example when my nephews wallet was stolen the hotel was unwilling to provide an incident report as they didn't want there to be any official record record of a member of there staff being accused of theft, the Thomson rep wasn't much help either he said that he could request a police report but it would take 45 days to get done or we could pay to get a taxi down to the police station pay the cops to write a police report and then wait 2 weeks and then only if you were lucky would you get a police report to give to your travel insurance company.

Another example of how the hotel doesn't care about its guests can be seen by how little they protect you from the beach venders. In every other hotel in the Caribbean you have your hotel situated on public beaches so the beach venders are allowed to harass you on the beach but fortunately you have the ability to leave the beach and retreat back into the safety of your hotel knowing they can't follow you there. However in this hotel as the beach venders are local Dominicans they are free to come stay in the hotel swim in the pool eat our food and harass the paying guests inside the hotel leaving you no possible escape from them trying to force their toot onto you.

The Italian restaurant is fantastic as is the ocean grill restaurant as the waitress I mentioned works in those two restaurants but the octopus restaurant has worse food than the buffet, worse service than the buffet and the entrance to the octopus restaurant is in the hotels only function room so your walking through someone's wedding reception to get to the restaurant then while your eating the wedding guests use the restaurant as a corridor to reach the toilets which really kills the ambience of the a la carte experience.

As I said there are a few good point about this hotels but not enough for me to ever go back there or to ever recommend it to anyone.

I have now been to the Dominican Republic 3 times so to compare the customer service from the country as a whole over the years I would describe it as follows in 2003 the service we got was faultless in 2005 the customer service has gone down hill and now in 2014 it would seem that with a few exceptions the customer service has become virtually non existent.

This hotel is the worst hotel I have ever been to in my life so far and I would seriously question as to if this is the worst hotel in the Caribbean. Me and my family are all agreed that we will never return to the Dominican Republic again ever and no matter where we do go next we will never go to another Independent hotel again because all independent hotels everywhere do the same thing with the locals as this hotel.

Room Tip: the rooms with the best view are on the block closest to the pool bar as the rooms closest to the bu...
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank stuartbennett
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 review, 24 July 2014
Thank you for your recent visit to the Dominican Republic and we are sorry to hear that you did not enjoy everything at the resort. We take all guest feedback very seriously, and of we are greatly concerned that you left with the impression that we do not care about our guests. Please be assured that the enjoyment of ALL of our guests is our #1 priority. We do feel the need to correct at least a couple of these claims - the missing wallet, we did not file an incident report because the wallet was left on a chair in the lobby. Also for the benefit of future guests, please be assured that the beach vendors are absolutely NOT allowed onto hotel property.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax UK
Level Contributor
19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2014

We have just returned from a lovely 2 week holiday. We stayed in the Catalina Block in a standard room 2115 with limited sea view. Although the Hotel is old it is well maintained, the rooms are spacious and have large comfortable beds, large flat screen TV & plenty of drawers & wardrobe space. The rooms are spotless, the maids do an excellent job, there is constant hot water, toiletries, clean towels & bedding daily. There is a safe but you have to pay for a key!! and a fridge with water, beer & soft drinks is included.
There is a huge pool with plenty of sunbeds & umberellas with a swim up bar(slow service)where activities take place, a separate quiet pool. There is access to the beach with lots of sunbeds & parasols and you can swim & snorkel.
There are 3 very good A La Carte restaurants & the tenderloin steaks are particularly good. There is a mediocre buffet restaurant where you have most meals but there is no starter section just soup & occasionally 1 other i.e. Caesar Salad, there is plenty of choice for main course but in general it is average, plenty of desserts & fruit. Mostly it is poor service trying to get a drink or get the table cleared and the house wine is very cheap plonk, not too bad if very cold but awful if not. Restaurant Managers seem to reset tables but do not supervise service which at best is just OK to terrible.
Many thanks to Maria who was always very friendly, welcoming & obliging. Regular barman at beach bar was also very good. Thanks also to Kerin for helping us with WiFi.
The entertainment is average but the Michael Jackson show was very good.
There is free WiFi round the pool & reception area but there are a few rooms where you can pay 20$ to have it in your room but it is very slow speed and not good enough to pay for.
In this day & age internet should be free anywhere in the hotel and safes should be part of the package so guests valuables are secure. We were on the ground floor and our balcony door did not lock, I had to complain twice to the rep before it was fixed.
All in all we enjoyed our stay but we would not return as we have been to much better all inclusive hotels.

Room Tip: We were in 2115 ground floor with no noise.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank patgom15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2014

We spent week at this hotel in April of this year. The hotel is not big but has it all that is needed for good relaxing vacation. It is not place for party of good night fun thats for sure. The place was clean, food was good and service decent. We were traveling without kids so the free Wi-Fi was a big plus to keep in touch. Room was clean and well kept. Ours was right on the beach which was a plus. Buffet had plenty of choices and in our opinion there was something for anyone (unless you are really picky). The only two downsides of this place are lack of shade on the beach, which is large, nice and very well maintained. We were in the off season and unless we made to the beach by 8:30 we wouldn't find the shade. Not sure why hotel wouldn't build more since the beach is large. And other very anoying part, which I have to say has nothing to do with hotel per say, were endless beach vendors. They were very polite and reasonable but after some time it becomes anoying to repaet "no thanks" every 30 sec. Again, nothing to do with hotel. I would return to this hotel.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Zelko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 July 2014

My friends and I stayed at the resort for my 30th birthday. We had a great time. The staff was very friendly and had great sense of humors. The pool and the beach was nice. The only complaint I have is that the resort got very crowded on the weekend as all the locals visited at that time.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank K L
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

Property: 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:
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:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Family Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 506
Reservation Options:
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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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