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“What a great choice...ty to TA reviewers!!”

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VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort
Ranked #5 of 40 Hotels in Puerto Plata
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 March 2011

My wife and I chose this hotel after MUCH reading on TA of reviews! Disregarded a few obvious bad ones and off we went. We have been 10 times to DR and Cuba nad have a pretty good idea of what should be and value. GV has the best food we have ever seen anywhere in the caribean ! THe Alacarts are ALL excellent! Amongst us we voted the Beach Grill the best and the Octapus the fanciest :) They really are all great ! try them! The buffet had chienese food, turkey , chicken, 3 or 4 kinds of potatoe every night, pastas, Always a carvery each night different and tasty. always a beef dish, a fish dish o r two....rice, honestly I could go on for days . Deserts to numerous to mention and tasty! A chocolate cornor! Salad bar and lots of breads and rolls and fruit. Honestly if you can t eat here you should probably not go to the Caribean :)
Our room was 2306. It was a solid 4 star room, no worn furnishing that I read of ?? I have pics to prove it !! top floor over looking the pool and a small ocean view thru the trees. Nice patio. AIr condition and hot water etc no problems.
There is definatly a difference with the staff here compared to other resorts I ve been too..they are eager to please and quick to do thier work. Each morning we would go to breakfast around 8-9 and put the green sign on our door..EVERY time our room was cleaned when we got back! We did have a negitive experience with one waiter in the Italian alacart which I did not allow to ruin our evening but he did bother me and I have sent a letter to the GV manager.
THe pool is beautiful and cleaned each day and night. I ve never seen people clean like they do! I watched them every day scrub the entire pool deck and all the chairs and tables. ALl the walkways right to the beach as well....nothing escapes these guys.
First time ever the other hotel people are on the beach trying to recruit you to come there next year, when we walked to the golf course they were at the end of thier entrances inviting you in for a tour or a drink.....asking for your visit next year! Perhaps this explains why GV is working so hard with the closures in Playa Dorada.
We took a taxi to toen and the rum factory etc....$40 for 2 hours, ok if your a first time visitor to the area.
The rum at the airport duty free, the first shop you come to after you clear check in is the cheapest anywhere. $2 less than the Brugal factory!
There is ice in the big grey plastic containers on each floor! Took us a few days to realize that :) THere is a money exchange on the resort between the 2 shops.
The beach is beautiful and there are a lot of vendors to sell you things but they are friendly and will go with a no thanks. As someone else said there s nothing wrong with shopping from your beach chair!! We did most of our shopping there ....nice fun guys to barter with, have fun with it. We did go to the orange market and a market in town.....we found the further from the resort the more aggressive the people/sellers get.
Fortunatly for us we had 7 hot and sunny days....not a drop of rain.
The shows are fun mostly audience participation bit the Michael Jackson show is very good!
We will return to the GV next year with 4 friends I have no problem recommending this resort to anyone. It's beautiful, well run and affordable. Enjoy!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank halifax69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,199 - 3,205 of 5,621 reviews

Reviewed 1 March 2011

We initially were staying in the Beata building by the south pool. At Midnight we were awaken by very very loud music coming from the Rodeway Bar just next door. The music was so loud that our room felt like it was vibrating. We called down to the front desk and they said it would be going on until 3:30am or 4am! We thought it was because it was Saturday night. Then the same thing happened on Sunday night. The resort has no way to stop the music because the bar is not on their property. So we luckily were able to change our room to another building - so the rest of the week we could sleep very soundly.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
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Thank lmazur24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2011

9 of us came to the Gran Ventana for a week or R&R. 5 Teenagers, and 4 adults. I can't say enough about how great of a deal it was and how I wouldn't give a second thought to coming back here.
Beach, great
Food, great,
Staff, amazing, and for those who complain that they don't speak good english....stay in the US if you don't like it. I've stayed at hotels in Toronto where the english in the DR seems like Buckingham Palace. This is a Spanish speaking country where many people can communicate in 4 languages. Amazing to me.
Resort, great, older, but well kept and the pride the staff take in keeping it up is something we could all learn from. Sure the rooms aren't fancy, but NO bugs, clean, well stocked, and if you need anything, they are right there to help. The cleaning staff work around the clock and many of the folks are here 16+ hours a day.
Enough said. We paid $1075.00 taxes in to fly from Toronto for 7 days. The air and food alone was worth it. No better bargain to be had. Period

Totally relaxing, kids loved it, nightly entertainment is light and fun. Party ends around 11 but there is a disco and bar up the street. After all day in the sun, 11 pm is almost tough to stay awake to anyhow. Bar opens at 10 am......that's a long haul....lol

We took the Safari Tour to 27 Waterfalls park....booked on the beach with Luis. It was amazing, $50.00 each, gone most of the day, lunch, rum, guides, and even bought a DVD of the day's events from our personal Camera man, $37.50. Guide was Raphael and the Camera man was Bernardo. If you do nothing else but sit by the pool all week, take a day and do this tour. Waterfalls not for the lazy or nervous, very exciting, a real rush. The fellas at the Waterfall park have been there for years and really make an exciting experience for all......too cool.,

Long and short....there are plenty of places to choose from, but I met many guests at the GV that were repeat and was referred by a friend. I am doing the same..... gather your friends: book, stay and enjoy.

My first trip to the Dominican is certainly not going to be my last.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank Mrmaxx1995
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2011

I went with my son and wife . It was really nice hotel when we got there all the staff was brilliant they was very helpfull .

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank pjones900
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2011

The Gran Ventana is a nice 3 Star all inclusive. The check in is relatively easy but you have to push to get a room by the beach. The rooms are dated (especially the 1970's TV). The beach is excellent. The staff is very good. The booze is cheap local booze and the wine is horrible. The food at the buffet is good at breakfast and average at lunch or dinner. The snack bar at the beach is NOT good. The restaurants are very good for an all inclusive resort. Tip the staff they work hard and really appreciate it.

The vendors are somewhat annoying and very persistent. The trip we booked through Ceaser took 3 hours to get to Pardise Island and 3 hours to get back. Not the 11/2 we were told!, but the snorkeling was great! If they improve on the quality of the selction of liquor we will go back. Room servive would be nice also (we are use to room service in Mexico).

Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
1  Thank bdpkelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2011

Why it was good: I stayed at the Gran Ventana for 6 nights, seven days in February, 2011. This was my 7th trip to the DR and 4th in the Puerto Plata area. All were at all-inclusives. I like the North Coast but had never stayed in the Playa Dorada area before. I thought it would be good for the kids to have a big beach, nearby shopping mall with movie theatre, and a nice pool. The reviews were mixed, as always, so off we went.
I start by saying that we paid, as a family, under $900 US for a junior suite, all-inclusive, so the price was incredibly low and we certainly got our money’s worth. The weather was fabulous, the breeze cool, and the room gigantic, made even larger by the fact that there was scarcely any furniture in it. More about that later. But really, for the money, it was a good time. On that level, mission accomplished and why quibble?
The pool was just fine, with one end a sort of faux beach, making it easy for people to come in and out of the water. Swim up bar, the usual music blasting away, and an animation team trying to work up some enthusiasm from the crowd. The beach is really the bonus, a lovely, sandy, miles-long place for a great stroll and people watching. The resort was clean and safe.
So I had a good time, the kids had fun; we enjoyed ourselves and certainly did not suffer at all. And yet, since I have been to a number of other places nearby, it is impossible not to compare.
Why it was not so good: Let’s put it this way; if I had paid twice as much (still not a lot of money for a family to spend a week in a resort; try to get away with a week at Disney with all meals for anything even close to this!) I would be upset because while it is often billed as a luxury resort, the GV is not a DR five star and not even a pre-recession four star. It is showing the effects of cutbacks and deferred maintenance, mostly in food and drink, and in the rooms. The grounds lack the beautiful gardens that are a major feature in so many of the DR resorts, and while it is clean and perfectly acceptable, it you are coming to be pampered (which was not our goal) this is not the right place.
Staff: The lovely Dominicans spoke very little English at this resort, which was an impediment for my bad Spanish. Fewer staff spoke English than at most places, although it was fine. The staff is 95% the salt of the earth. The best just do not work at the Gran Ventana front desk, which was a study in the ability to never look up and have to wait on someone. Some were out and out rude to guests. Never a manager so I guess they operate without supervision, or at least that is what I heard... the manager has always stepped away for a few hours and the hope is the guest will go away too.The housekeepers are awfully nice and deserve to be tipped. I’d urge people to do it. We tip at meals (just a couple of dollars is rare at all-inclusives) and the staff was incredibly grateful. We have been to the DR often (and drive around in the mountains and villages) enough to see how people really live. Tourism is down, which I suppose is why there are deep discounts and frills missing from many places, including this one.
Rooms: The room was a bit worn but clean and bug-free. I was concerned about this based on earlier comments in TA. Not a problem for us. Large marble baths with not much in them. Clean and toilets generally worked. Minimal amenities. Bring your own body lotion, which was never part of our room’s supplies. Water was doled out fairly thinly, with a half gallon given on arrival and after four nights, with a few daily small bottles to supplement. Not enough for a family.
Furnishings: The junior suite was quite remarkable, really. People in reviews had said that they lacked storage, but I assumed they had brought loads of stuff and it was not really the hotel’s problem. Actually, it is. We travel with very little (carry on only) and had no room for storing our few items.
There was a desk with no chair, a huge seating area with an uncomfortable wicker two seater and an armchair at a large coffee table. That took up a good bit of space, as did an angular entry that really was empty space, save for a table without drawers. We ended up using the chairs and table for storage. A desk has three drawers. That is your bureau for the entire suite. Those are your only drawers if you don’t count the slim one on the nightstand with the Bibles in it. The closet was almost funny. It was about a yard across (to be generous), only half of which could take hanging clothes. It’s pretty musty and has about ten hangers on one side (which fills it to capacity) and has some well-used shelves for you to place your things. Everything else just as to be left in bags. There is a safe in the closet. In an international first for me, they have removed all locks from the in-room safe and now rent a safe to you at the front desk. I guess they are in the main building, which seemed unreasonably far and expensive. Most places are enhancing room security. Here it was old-fashioned keys and no safe. We just secured one bag and used it as a safe and had no bad luck with loss.
Food: The food is sturdy, mostly serviceable, and absolutely the same at all meals. That is the best I can possibly say about it. On good days you can be satisfied and on bad days it is simply awful so you eat rice and fruit. Most of the time it is neither particularly bad nor good at all; it was just boring in its sameness. No frills, no excitement, no real ambience in the buffet. Certainly no premium or treat meals, no fancy ingredients. Nobody in my family got sick from the food, just sick of it. The main course on one day would be recycled and presented in various ways for days. Nothing is done to enhance presentation, no garnishes are around… it is just a few rows of buffet-standard hot and cold tables. Boiled eggs in some form at every meal, beans, rice, some stew of indeterminate origin, etc. The food in the three restaurants is essentially the same stuff, gussied up and prettily served by nice staff. The wine is comically bad. I am no connoisseur, but it is poured at the bar from old plastic water jugs. As staff prepared for the fancy restaurants, we watched them go to the bars, pour the house junk into carafes, tie cloth napkins around it and serve. I am not a drinker but suspect that I could have had a dozen pina coladas before I had enough alcohol (the local Brugal) to feel tipsy. There were no heavy hands pouring, from what I saw. Fine with me, but the drinks appeared to be as weak as possible. All libations were local. I think that other types of alcohol were available for a fee. As a lightweight drinker, I did not experience this personally.
Entertainment: I don’t know about the animation; we were amusing ourselves with the beach, DVDs, and reading. The TV remote did not work and we finally got one that did work the day before we left. The pool staff did the usual volleyball, etc. It’s the beach and weather that were world-class.
The Mall/Internet: The mall and theatre that seemed like a good reason to bring kids to the area turned out to be a ghost town with a silver lining. The Gran Ventana has what has to be among the priciest Internet I have ever seen in a hotel. At about $5 an hour (not that it is available in the rooms; one must go to the lobby or internet room) it was ridiculous if you needed to connect back to the office… and the signal frustratingly weak. I read on TA that one could get wi-fi at a restaurant in the shopping arcade/mall. It was better than that. One could sit in the outdoor plaza at the center of the mall and get free wi-fi. A few purchases from local merchants (no business at all, from what I could see; it was desperately slow for them) and we were able to relax and use wi-fi a minute walk from the hotel. The merchants were really suffering from lack of business, so buying a few things there helped them, and while the family shopped a little, I could check my email, etc.
Miscellaneous: What else? The people at the beach snack bar were great; nice with kids, made bacon cheeseburgers that one child loved, chicken on another day even though it was late and they were not really still serving. That is the only snack bar at the resort. Large, but it is unusual for there to be only one in a resort this size. It closes in mid afternoon to transform into the Ocean Grill. Security was present but not oppressive and we felt safe. Bring floats and pool toys if your kids want them because they are quite expensive on site. Although there were few electrical outlets in the room they were all standard US style (3 prong) and for those guests from the US/Canada no converters are needed. Most guests seemed nice and seemed content with the place. There were more Americans than we have seen in the past in the DR; we generally assume everyone is Canadian. We did not hear room noise so the walls seemed substantial enough.
Bottom line: If you got a very good deal, this place is a good deal. Go and enjoy and think about how much you are saving and how great it is at the beach, at the pool, etc. You will have fun. We did. If you did not get a really good price, trust me, you can do better elsewhere. For the food and ambience alone, not to mention comfort in the rooms, there are many places looking for your business that will offer more and better.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank withkidstravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2011

We just returned feb 16-23rd, we had a great time! The trip got off to a little bit of a rocky start, but we are not the type to "sweat the small stuff", our rooms were in the beta building, and if you have read the reviews before hand like we did we were worried as the reviews have not always been kind. BUT their is nothing wrong with the building in fact we prefered it as it surrounds the "quiet" pool, where there is usually barely anyone around, and that goes for the bar right by it. We felt it was our "secret" place, loved it and the bartenders Jackie and Elvin. OK back to the rooms, they were nice, clean, nothing to fancy but nice, our toilet did not work well, we had someone up 2 the first night to look at it, and our rooms had the disco coco bongo behind us which was very loud from 12-2am, so after the first night we decided to go get our rooms changed... we were really happy with the building so again don't be alarmed if you get put in the beta building there is nothing wrong with it, just make sure you are not on the cocco bongo side. We went down to the front desk the next morning, in a very nice manner expressed our desire to change rooms, there was 2 rooms we wanted to stay side by side, I really believe you get more flies with honey, someone should have told the guy next to us who was being loud and rude to the clerk asking for a room change. We were taken care of and within 10 min had a bell boy to show us the new rooms to make sure we were happy and to collect out bags. It was not the desk clerk fault that the toilet didn't work our that we were light sleepers. We were very happy with our new rooms just on the opposite side. That really was the only negative part of the trip. I reccomend the alternative dining, great way to break up the buffet, which by the way is awesome!! Best breakfast buffet, love the omelet bar. The food was great I would think it would be hard to find something to complain about.
We started off our mornings at the beach, then hit up lunch, and went to the main pool for a few hours, easy to get lawn chairs at every spot, then usually later afternoon went to the quiet pool.. I would definately reccomend bring bendy straws, I know that sound crazy but would have loved to have a few this trip, ended up wearing my drink a few times trying do drink while not wanting to sit up.. hey I was on vacation, aloud to be lazy lol
We did buy a few things from the vendors on the beach it was fun to chat with the them they really did take no for an answer so no problem, but wish we had found the orange market down at the end of the beach a 20 min walk. Great deals, much cheaper but you must know how to bargin, I reccomend MR. 100%, that is name of one of the vendors, says right on his shop mr. 100% he gaves great deals. Make sure you haggle if you want art work, I got them down from $180 to $40, and I love it, I would have actually paid twice that! Also you apprecite your hotel so much more when you walk along the beach the other resorts do not take care of their beaches like the VH.
We really wanted to do the outback or monster truck tour, but only went on certain days, so we ended up doing the jeep safari for 1/2 the price,I promise you it was worth it, we booked in the plaza out side the hotel, it was amazing. We did the typical village, school , and then the waterfalls!! The waterfalls made our trip it was amazing!! Not for the young or for none strong swimmers, it was so much fun, your guides litterally pull you up each fall and then at the end you get to slide down them, great bang for the buck not bad for $35 plus $10 for the waterfalls.
We did venture into town.. becarefull it can be a scam, it was $40 for the driver but then a "guide" comes along and you pay him what you feel is app. We made it clear we just wanted to drive around the town then go the big supermaket (get your vanilla and coffee there) only wanted to be gone for 2 hours, but we got dropped off with the guide to "shops" I am sure the guide get s kick back for taking us there, it was ok for the first bit, then annoyed as we just wanted to see the city and then go back. We made it clear to the guide we were done and wanted to be taken to the supermarket, but the driver had gone probably expected us to "shop" more then we had so the guide had to scrammble to get us different transportation back.. it was a little crazy but I felt safe the whole time just annoyed alittle. It worked out fine in the end, just make sure if you just want to go in town make sure you are clear on what "tour" you want. It was cloudy we did not do the cable car but reccomend it, wish we had gone back another day to do it.
I should point out, we were four friends in our early 30's, there was lots of seniors and young families but that did not bother us we made our own fun!
Ok I guess I have wrote enough, but back to the hotel if you are going Puerta Plata you will not be dissipointed with the VH!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Robiniski
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 Top resorts Hotel in Puerto Plata
#4 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Plata
#5 Luxury Hotel in Puerto Plata
Price Range: £88 - £252 (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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