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“Best bang for the buck!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #3 of 41 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
waterdown, ontario
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Best bang for the buck!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2010

With great anxiety, we booked this trip with retag vacations and it was an AIr Canada Vacation package. I had read a ton of reviews on this site and was a little confused on how so many people could have excellent reviews and so many poor. So, do what I did, take a look at the number of reviews and work out % of excellent and very good ( it's greater than 90%)
So, 1 week, off we went for our 20th anniversary. The resort met every expectation we had. If you are looking for a 5 star downtown major city North American hotel, this is not it so don't benchmark against it. If you are looking for a 42" plasma TV, don't benchmark as this is not it. If you are looking for modern, 2010 furnature and fixtures, well again this is not it. If you are looking for Vegas style entertainment, go to Vegas.
But, if you are looking for a great beach.....( tons of space, huts and loungers), great poolside, pretty good food, decent drinks and a great and friendly staff and clean environment ( no bugs in rooms or in resteraunts that we saw, and my wife is a CLEAN freak), then this is it.
At this time of year, hotel was only maybe 60-70% occupied and other bordering hotels were closed for low season, but that made this trip even that much better.

Tips:
1) book a la carte restaurants every other day ( that way breaks up the buffet dinners). The breakfast is great every morning. You can have make to order eggs or omeletes and tons of cheese, breads, fruit and other things. Lunch is decent ( pizza was pretty good) and the snack bar by the beach had good wraps and pizza.
2) bring bug spray for beach if you do get bit by things....there are sand mites that bit my wife ( but not me..hahah)
3) do not buy the day trips from the hotel....for example, they were asking $75/person for Paradise Island, one beach guy asked for $65 ( I did not even try to barter) where as Maroposal Tours at the Plaza asked for $50.....I would go there and ask for Dani ( German woman)...they has 3 tours for $100 each ( remember Paradise Island, hotel wanted $75 for 1 trip)
3a) we only did one...Safari adventure...it was $31 + $8 for entrance to park each, so $39 each...awesome climbing the falls and then sliding/jumping back...however, on the way, they detour through a couple tourist trap type activities...it's ok, but they expect you to buy stuff.....bunch of kids run after the truck yelling for candy...so bring a bag
4) negotiate any beach vendors....they ask ridiculous money at first and even at 1/3 price you feel you might be getting jacked......so, take a walk to Orange Market...turn left as soon as you walk out to beach..it's a 15 minute walk to an area which is, surprise orange coloured....there's about 30 8'x10' stalls all selling similar stuff...negotiate with them too, but they start way lower than beach guys
5) the plaza I mentioned is about 2-3 minute walk as soon as you leave resort desk entrance
6) ask where to book a la cartes ( as you face tennis courts), Left hand side, go into reception type area
7) they say you can't reserve loungers at beach or pool, but of course everyone does it...to get your spot, you'll need to be out early as my wife went one morning at 6:45 and saw lots of towels out....now, that does not mean they are ALL gone, just maybe prime positions
8) if you take air canada vacations ...the $10 entry fee is included( you get your ticket on the plane), your ride to airport is in coach bus ( included...we took a taxi for $33 as we did not know!), your ride back is free and you don't pay any $20 departure tax either!!!!!...so, the $120 extra I had could go to buying sea shell necklaces
9) tips...well, I gave up trying to figure that out...I brought a bunch of US $1 and used them all...who ever knows what should be appropriate should post it...I gave $5 at each a la carte, and $1 from time to time at the bar and at breakfast ( guy who kept my coffee cup full)
10) it feels like 20 degree difference between beach and pool area ( beach has slight breeze)
11) ah, be prepared for some topless visual affects
12) if you have late flight out, they will look after your luggage in secure area and you can shower up in "hospitality suite" for free ( or maybe a tip) and enjoy the day

bring books and cards...the entertainment again is not vegas, but it's there if you want it....
...this was a great, great place to chill out, decompress for 7 days and just enjoy the weather, food and drink....( the people that put 1 or 2 stars on here...I don't know where they normally vacation, but if this was a dump in their opinion I wonder what is their 5 star----for sure I can't afford anything that they might think was excellent)

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Terminator50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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  • Rooms
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  • Service
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  • Cleanliness
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Austin
Level Contributor
46 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2010

I picked this hotel based on on-line reviews (on Expedia and TripAdvisor websites) and I wasn't disappointed - it was even better than expected: luxury on a budget. All-inclusive luxury resort, clean, perfectly located (w.r.t to other hotels, entertainment, shopping, but mostly wonderfull beach with a coral reef starting in just about 3ft of water, snorkeling for beginners paradise). Food was excellent, the 2 of the 3 on-site including restaurants I managed to sample were a french-cuisine quality and service (the default wine sucks, but that is about my only complaint and you can pay a bit to get better wine, I am just spoiled here). All the hotel staff friendly and helpful. Entertainment every evening, extra trips and activities you can reserve straight from the hotel lobby. At the end of my stay I didn't want to leave and I would love to go back.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lucie_tx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, On
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2010

We stayed at the VH Gran Ventana from Oct 15-22, 2010, and had a wonderful vacation. It was a nice small resort- our room was within a 1 minute walk to everything. The staff were all very polite and always smiling, especially Rafael, the coconut man. They all seemed to enjoy their jobs, and they all worked very hard.

The beach was beautiful and the coral reefs were great for snorkelling. It was a bit annoying how there was always people trying to sell you things, but if you say no right off the bat, they seem to leave you along after that. There were great stretches of beach to either side of the resort for nice long beach walks.

The pool area was nice, and there were a lot of loungers available. Great service at the pool bar. There was also a large area with comfy chairs and tables to sit and have a drink.

The food was great, we had no complaints at all. Typical all-inclusive food, but it was very tasty. We did not try any of the a la carte restaurants, as we were happy with the buffet. The beach grill restaurant had very tasty pizza at lunchtime.

Our room was small, but it was kept very clean and we had a nice view from the balcony of both the pool and the beach. My only complaint was that the beds were a little bit hard and a bit small, but I still slept pretty well.

There wasn't a whole lot to do in the evenings at this resort- they put on a show every night, and then everything shut down at midnight. So it's not a great place to go if you are wanting to do a lot of partying. But if you are looking to relax at a nice resort with a beautiful beach, then this is the place for you. We would definitely go back again.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kdc_star
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PEI
Level Contributor
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2010

My friend and I travelled from October 8-15 to Gran Ventana. It was a last minute booking, and we had never been there before. We usually go to another resort down the street, but decided to go to this one, and we are so glad we did! we found another home in playa dorada.

The rooms are great, with balconies, mini fridge which is replenished every morning by the maids. the food was great, the beach was good, but it is better down around the bend to the left. still a nice beach though.

The bell service was amazing. Even if you just wanted to go to the plaza, they will take you on the golf cart! For little things like this, i would recommend a tip, because it is a really nice gesture and they don't have to do it. just a buck or two. Also the reception staff is great too. Always have a smile.

the entertainment was great, even if its just the staff putting on skits, its still hilarious. The A-La-Cartes are a must! In agreeance with the other comments on here about them. The seafood and Italian a la cartes are in airconditioning which is great because it can get rather warm in the evenings. The buffet was great, there was usually a nice variety every day. The breakfast buffet has a great smoothie that they make, and its great if you arent hungry, and it satisfies and fills you until you go to lunch.

there always seemed to be somewhere to sit at the pool deck, but it would get super super hot because there isnt a breeze at all, unlike the beach which has a great breeze to cool you down. The only downside to the beach is the huts are always taken regardless if there is someone there or not; people would leave their towels on the chairs under the hut and not even be there... NOT COOL!! especially for those people who are at the beach all day, with kids or not, who will need the shade from time to time.

the nightlife is great in playa dorada. There is cocobongo, hemmingways, roadway, and a british pub down the way from hemmingways. My friend and I go in to the city once in a while (with some locals, just to be on the safer side). This time we went to Orion, and Terresa Caribe which are 2 local bars the second one being a bachata club. We also went to Diamente which is a club off the side of a casino. They were all great.

All in all, I hightly recommend this resort to everyone.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank BabyGirl1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portree, Isle of Skye
Level Contributor
70 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2010

Sitting in departure and thought I’d pen my review of the Gran Ventana Beach ~Resort.

Flights
A just as you would expect package long haul flight, this one by Thomson. Staff busy throughout and not much time for personal interaction. A meal and a snack served with regular bar trolley runs at the usual prices. Enquiries reveal only real perk of upgrade is a wee bit more room and free alcohol. On arrival, reasonably quick as Thomson staff had given us arrival and custom forms to fill in on route and arrival tax of ten dollar per head paid out.
A tip here is not to bother purchasing on line from Dominican embassy before you go as that costs ten UK pounds and therefore more expensive. We were met on the outside by fantastic Thomson rep Sylvia who was extremely helpful throughout and effortlessly checked in to our Hotel,the Gran Ventana Beach resort.
Pick up no problems however staff at Puerto Plata check in/security surly and rude in the extreme-in fact the exact opposite of their countrymen in the resorts. Not sure why this. Treated like cattle with no courtesy. £20 departure tax paid in departures.You get your boarding card stamped to say you’ve paid. Thomson flight same as before with staff impersonal, well that’s my opinion and I suppose they keep busy.

Check in -
No problem checking in however I was informed that as my son was under 16, Dominican Law stated we must have a ground floor room? That wasn’t the case two years ago when we went to the Grand Oasis Marian. We had to wait half an hour or so for the room but having been fitted with all inclusive bands, a few cocktails started things off nicely.

Room(s) -
Our initial ground floor room had a problem in that water was running from ceiling light fitting so a call to reception required. After half an hour, and a few beers later, no one had arrived and another call made. By this time the water was running to the corridor outside and it felt we were going down with our ship!. A maid then appeared and mopped up and we were then taken to a room on the third floor with the under 16 rule presumably relaxed! This room was excellent with a view of the beach.
That was us set with no problems after that. Often people describe such rooms in Dominican resorts as a ‘bit dated’ or ‘in need of work’ but in my opinion they were typically Caribbean and very nice. Mini bar stocked each day with Pepsi, sprite and two or three beers. Sometimes fresh flowers left on bed and maid did a great job cleaning daily. I personally left 2 US dollar tip daily but that’s not expected. TV had BBC world and a few English channels for background when changing, getting up etc. Didn’t spend much time in room anyway. AC was brilliant and key fob required to power this to conserve energy. A safe lock and key may be purchased at reception for 30 USD. No problems with thefts in in fact whole area felt secure with security guard but doesn’t pay to take chances. Bathroom well tiled and shower adequate with lots of hot water. Be careful of toilet, tissues should be put in bin next to toilet or they will block the pan. This happened to us once and was not pleasant!

Food -
Excellent Excellent Excellent! Cant understand the fussy eater brigade who criticise the food in such resorts. Buffet restaurant had massive selection breakfast lunch and dinner with attentive, polite staff.
Egg man every morning providing excellent custom made omelettes and sunny side ups, breads, pastries, fruits, juices etc etc. Dinner at night always had roast of the day. My favs were beef and suckling pig. Couldn’t fault it. You book your 3 visits to a la carte restaurants at the beginning of your stay. Ocean grill, octopuss and Italien. All excellent with superb service. Lobster or sparkling wine is a bit extra. Beach snack bar open from 1200-1700 then becomes Ocean Grill. This is an excellent facility with burgers, bbq, chilli, pizza and drinks. Waiter service there is excellent.

Pools/Beach -
Big pool has activities but lots of room for everyone. Swim up bar is a good place to be on a hot day. Plenty of loungers. Yes, people up at crack of dawn to reserve loungers with cover and Hotel claim to not allow it etc etc. having said that still plenty of room. A quiet pool exists the other side of reception but we never felt we needed to go. Animation team were excellent and encouraged participation but not to the extent of annoying you. Good atmosphere generated there. Competitions like skittles or hook the bottle every day giving the winner as bottle of rum. Pool and table tennis area nearby again hosting competitions. Aerobics, dancing lessons and blackjack lessons all available. Towel station at door to Gym where towels given out in return for laminated tickets daily and vice versa. $20 fine for lost ticket. Also in this area was a book library where people encouraged to leave books and mags for others. This was excellent and I found a few crackers there after leaving the books Id read. Coffee Station near pool as well.
The Beach was awesome and was picture postcard in view and atmosphere. Plenty of cabanas for shelter. Only thing was numerous vendors visit you. They are all licensed with numbers on their shirts and a polite no thank you is all that is required. If you wish to make purchases, friendly bargaining may take place and they are nice people. Remember they are just trying to make a living. My wife got a pedicure from vendor number 8, Lily, who was a really nice girl. We left a bag of stuff we didn’t need for her and her family. Water refreshing and clean and the sand raked and cleaned every day. Nice walking route on beach but if you take a left, you will end up at the flea market-BEWARE as you will be accosted by numerous vendors who all sell the same stuff at expensive prices. eg a ring for my son started at 80 US and ended up at 5!!. Do not go there-cheaper in nearby plaza without the hassle.

Entertainment -
Apart from day routine, evening routine is very full. After children’s activities, animation team take the stage at 9 pm and dance an amazing coordinated Mirengue dance.Therafter many themed nights and interactive entertainment. Team are very talented and good with clients. After midnights, numerous pay bars open nearby at the Playa Dorado Plaza if you can stay awake with jet lag. Karaoke
On Monday nights.

Excursions-
Holiday company say beware of beach or Plaza vendors but I reckon they are worth a look as cheaper. I went on deep sea fishing, Cat snorkling tour and Monster truck. All were fab. You can research on web before departure.

Overall-
Staff hard working, friendly and always cleaning the resort. Their enthusiasm is infectious and makes this a laid back friendly resort. Thomson Rep Sylvia was superb. Smartly turned out and genuinely interested in helping clients. She should be paid double. Would return

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Dougiemg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 October 2010

I read reviews about Gran Ventana before I booked my trip and I thought I would give it a try! Guess what? Absolutely loved the place, people, food, swimming pool, beach and just about everything. Rooms were spotless and super clean and that is what really matter to me. Karin at front desk, all buffet staff and all bartenders were great and very friendly. My wife and I had great time!

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank titushi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2010

the gran ventana hotel was amazing just like paradise!!....the hotel was very clean the maids worked very hard to keep the rooms perfect...all the staff where lovely and friendly...the animation team where off the hook they made sure everyone had a great laugh in the evenigs,donkey,mini me,eddi,joseph and manny very nice people...the plaza just off the hotel was great too loads of little shops to but loads of nice stuff...the nightclub coco bongo was a good laugh great atmosphere and the drinks are well cheap!!! just chilling by the pool during the day was great...also the safari trip was great out tour guid rudi was great...ocean world was great too all the sea life there was good the shows where good i loved it all....so basicly i got back from the gran venatana beach resort two months ago now and i am returning in 3 weeks it soo good there id advise anyone to goo and have as much of a good time as me and my family did xxx

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank louizemidson
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:
#2 Best Value Hotel in Puerto Plata
#3 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Family 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:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Odigeo and TravelUp so you can book your VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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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