Gran Ventana Beach Resort Reviews

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Gran Ventana Beach Resort  

PLaya Dorada, Puerto Plata. República Dominicana

"Wonderful Resort, Great Value! "
Posted by: Tammy  on Jan 1, 2014
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Gran Ventana Beach Resort Reviews
Gran Ventana Beach Resort Pictures and Information
Gran Ventana Beach Resort Playa Dorada Dominican Republic

of 17 Hotels in Playa Dorada

User rating 4.0

Based on 30 reviews

Gran Ventana Beach Resort Information

This delightful beachfront complex is a perennial tourists´ favourite! Warmly recommended.

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Gran Ventana Beach Resort Reviews

Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 4.0 of 5 30 reviews
Very good
By Occasion...
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1 - 10 of 30

"No more Gran Ventana and no Sunwing."

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Blake  on Mar 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
243 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Feb 4 - 18
Quick check in and in room quickly with bags

First room checked into on first floor, no view and quickly were changed to another on 2nd floor overlooking party pool. Woke up with stiff back, beds were hard as a rock, attended lobby to inquire about a mattress covering that I heard was available, I was quickly advised that was not possible by front desk and clerk walked away. I told him that I was told by the "signature rep" I was actually with "Sunwing but couldn't find him" that covers were available. The clerk replied you go and get that rep and tell him to come here and in a very unfriendly voice. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Eventually the "Signature" rep, that I can't thank enough took us personally to the "Quiet" area of the complex and we got a great room. Not impressed with the mini bar, one bottle of cheap beer, and constantly had to request for more drinking water. This room also did not have the key plug in to activate the air conditioner which was great. In our second room that had this feature I asked for a second key in order to keep the air on, when front desk asked me where key ring was I advised him it was in the room plugged in, the clerk said I was not allowed to do that in a stern voice. Without doing that each time you reentered the room it was stinking hot.

Restaurants and Bars
I was only impressed with the Italian restaurant, staff there were great as well as the food. You have to meet "Jackie" at the quiet pool bar, she is a lot of fun.

Probably one of the better beaches around, cleaned daily and raked. Some other nearby resorts beaches were disgusting with garbage. Too may vendors on the beach.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Enjoyed the nearby Playa Dorada mall. The bar near there Texas Roadhouse had some scary prices for a steak and beer. I have done just about everything over the years we have been in DR, the cable car, Ocean World and catamaran trips are the best. The best bang for your buck is the cataraman, and I get my trips off of the resort, cheaper and just as good.

Other Comments
I believe this hotel is a 4 star rating, I don't know how they got that. I am used to staying at the RIU hotels and what a difference there is for the same amount or close differnce in cost. This hotel needs a facelift, and there front desk staff need some people skill training. I was also not impressed with having to fly to Punta Canta on return home. This was not pointed out by our travel agency. No more Gran Ventana and no Sunwing.

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"Never again!!!!!! As long as I live and breath"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  SAIN  on Apr 4, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: Mar, 2010 | Leisure | With friend
435 people found this review helpful

Hotel is dirty, old broken furnishings and is only a 1* hotel , whoever graded it as a 4* needs to be fired.If you want a relaxing holiday or even just to sleep at night then this is NOT the hotel for you. The service from staff leaves an awful lot to be desired. The food is disgusting the worst I have ever experienced. I wouldn't give as pig swill, even the staff who worked there sent out for pizza. If you need to lose weight then come here, it truly is not fit for any aninmal let alone the fact you have paid for it. Seek out Pizza Hut in the mall. I have travelled to many places over the world and have been to the Dom. Rep 10 times and believe me this is the worst hotel in the Carribean. Stay here at your peril!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Arrival:
Smooth usual airline service. Transfer to hotel quick

Bed bugs, Beds are like concrete, tv is a dinosaur, mini bars dont work, the windows are not double glazed and most are ill fitting, The maids need to be retrained or just trained, they used 1 mop and 1 cloth to clean all rooms TAKE YOUR OWN CLEANING STUFF

Restaurants and Bars:
EAT ELSEWHERE if you want to live

The only good thing apart from the vendors they get on your nerves. The pool is full of sport jocks playing polo all day every day

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Entertainment is poor same old thing michael jackson night, kareoke please we need more than this

Other Comments:

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"The room situation bothered us"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Dirk and Henny  on Jan 8, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
314 people found this review helpful

When we booked 3 months before, we requested two rooms, next to each other with king beds as we were traveling with another couple. When we arrived we received adjoining rooms but no king beds. They informed us we would have to wait two days, but that we would certainly move to new rooms with king beds, ocean view and in the same building. What we eventually ended up with was rooms in different buildings, no ocean view, but king beds. The room that we received was next to washrooms, a lobby, a laneway used by delivery vehicles and had a poorly working shower. It seemed to be the poorest and noisiest location they could have given us. We tolerate a fair bit and do not complain quickly but we had put in our request early so expected better than this.

Restaurants and Bars::
The food was well above average with buffet and a la cartes being almost excellent. Good service at any of the bars.

The pools were nice, clean and large.
The beach was the best on the entire strip.
There were lots of chairs in both locations.
The grounds were well kept.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
The nightly entertainment dragged out, was very repetitive and boring.
Activities during the day were poor to none existant. We like Carribean music but heard very little of it(or of any music for that matter). We had three rainy days which we made the best of but games, music and activities should have been presented more under the circumstances but it didn't happen! There were few places to comfortably play cards--we ended up setting up our own makeshift table.

Other Comments::
The room situation bothered us enough that we would probably not return to this resort.

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"The Gran Ventana is a very nice resort but we will not be returning."

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Eldon ~ Smiths  on Mar 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
246 people found this review helpful

Arrival: March 07 - 14
This was our fouth vacation to the Dominican Republic. Our four-some travelled from Montreal with Sunwing. The flight was great and Sunwing service was excellent. A bus with a Sunwing Rep. was waiting for us at the Puerto Plata airport. He gave the usual welcoming speech and the need-to-know info. At least that is what we assume he was doing. Although he was advised that we spoke only English, he delivered the whole communication in French. I understand a very small amount of French and he did get a laugh we he pointed at us and said something about English and then stated that the "whole world spoke French". From that point on we were completely ignored.

We arrived at Gran Ventana in the late afternoon. Sign-in was quick and easy. each couple was given a room on the second floor of building three. This is approximately a three minute walk from the front entrance of the main lobby. The rooms are a nice size and clean with one king bed, but they are quite dated.
The room my wife and I had was located at the rear of the building. The air conditioner was not working and the ceiling fan had only one speed. Through the night there was a lot of noisey activity on the road that ran along the back. I went to the front desk the next morning and we were immediately transferred to the second floor of building two. This room was much fresher and quieter.
The maid service was good. Depending on the gift of children's clothing or school supplies, we also left either a 50 or 100 peso tip. We were very well looked after and personal tyouches made it obvious the maid was very grateful.

Restaurants and Bars
We ate all but two meals at the main buffet. There was always a good selection which was well prepared. There were some items that were not as good as others, but that was probably only an issue of personal preferance. One problem we did encounter was that if any us didn't have wine or beer with our lunch or dinner, we were not offered any alternatives. Most of the time, the hot water from the urn in the buffet area was barely warm enough to steep the tea.

The bar at the beach also has a snack area. There you could have a decent lunch or afternoon snack. This area was converted into an a la carte resteraunt in the evening.
We had one dinner at the Italian restaraunt. The food and service was great. We could not have asked for a nicer evening. The next evening we ate at the Octopus restaurant. This did not meet our expectations. although some aspects of the meal were very good, others were not and the service was mediocre at best. Two of us ordered the seafood platter. It was more like a stew with a lot of squid as the main ingredient. Although we both enjoy seafood, we found this to be very disappointing and basically flavourless. My wife had a chicken dish which was good and my friend had a steak that he really enjoyed. He said the only problem was the small portion. We met some friends from our area who dined at the beachfront a la carte. They said it was very enjoyable and they would gladly eat there again.
There are three bars in the complex and the serving staff are always very polite and accomodating. There is a large selection of both traditional and non-alcohlic drinks.

The grounds and pools are kept tidy and clean. The beach is cleaned each morning and staff are continually picking up empty glasses and any litter.

Although they claim that they do not tolerate saving chairs on the beach, if you go down after 8:00 am, you will see a lot of chairs with towels and very few people in sight. You will have to go early if you want chairs, especially under a cabana. What you do from that point is up to you.

The are a number of vendors on the beach. If they appraoch you and you aren,t interested, all you have to do is say, "No thanks". If you are interested in their wears, be ready to barter. They are very good at what they do. The biggest disappointment was getting into the ocean. When the tide is out, the entire width of Gran Ventana beach is covered with coral. This is very effectively hidden in any promotional pictures of the resort. Because of the coral, we felt unsafe even when the tide was in. We had to walk a considerable distance in either direction to find a decent place to swim.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did not go on any tours this year, but there are a lot of good ones available. Because we spent most of the day on the beach or in the ocean, we weren't involved in any of the recreational activities arount the pool. There are available activities such as snorkling, kayaking, biking, tennis etc..
The evening entertainment usually starts with a time for the children. Then each evening offers a variety for adults. We found the the entertainment to be extremely amateurish in ability and presentaion, so after the first evening we found other activities. The only exception was part of a magic show. The magician did have some very good tricks.

Other Comments
The Gran Ventana is a very nice resort but we will not be returning. The only reason for this is the poor access to the ocean. We would rate all other aspects of our stay from good to extremely good.

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"This hotel is past it's prime. Would rate it a 3 star"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Heather  on Feb 1, 2009  >  11 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
230 people found this review helpful

Good. Fast, courteous and accommodating.

Very large but dated. No iron. Not much storge. Lots of wasted space on corner units. Our air conditioner was very noisy and did not always work. We did not need it so we did not complain.

Restaurants and Bars
Busy buffets. Always lined up at omlette station. A la cartes are very nice. Food and service definately better than buffets. No lime juice so no margaritas!

Nice beach. Best in the area. Lots of chairs but lots that are old and broken. Quiet pool was dirty and not always quiet as other guests don't understand this concept. Don't bring your kids here and don't play football!Bar can get noisy at times. Big pool busy and crowded.

Other Comments
This hotel is past it's prime. Would rate it a 3 star. The awards on the wall are old; from 2000-2005. Latest one was for golf course from 2006. Friendly staff. Never had to pay for a room safe at any other resort but here you do.

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"Would we go back? Most certainly."

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  John  on Mar 1, 2009  >  20 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
245 people found this review helpful

My wife and I just returned from a weeks stay at the Gran Ventana. This is our 3rd time to Puerto Plata but the first to this resort. It rained most of our trip but we still had a blast.

We traveled with Signature Vacations and our Rep. Guy was the best Rep. I have ever dealt with. Extremely knowledgeable, funny, helpful and most of all available. I have seen too many reps in the past that went missing the day after you arrived.

We chose this resort because of the value and the great reviews. We were not disappointed. The staff at the resort was second to none. They were always accommodating, friendly and helpful. We had no problems with our room and we had a great location overlooking the central area and the beach. I thought our check in might take some time since we were a full bus loan of vacationers but it was fast.

This resort serves Brugal rum not watered down stuff. The other liquor is the usual stuff you find at the resorts in the Dominican. The bartenders are a great bunch that get to know you quickly especially Pablo.

We found the food to be excellent here in fact we pretty much ate 4 meals a day and enjoyed every bite. I especially loved the wings at the beach and think they were the best I have ever had. We only ate at the Ocean Grill ala cart and enjoyed it. People we spoke with that ate at the other restaurants found them to be excellent.

The other reviews are correct in that the Animation team at the resort fall a little short of expectations. It would be nice to here more upbeat music around the pool and at the beach. I was a little tired of Kenny G's sleeping tunes.

The beach at Playa Dorada is great we have always enjoyed it there.

Would we go back? Most certainly.

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"Pretty good for the money"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Justin  on Aug 15, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Aug, 2010 | Leisure | With Group
950 people found this review helpful

The rooms were a bit outdated, but the problems encountered were fixed almost right away. one problem never fixed was with the plumbing in two of the three rooms we had, we put towels pon the floor, that was never fixed.
The maids were really nice, gave you double of everything if you asked.
The pools were great, we found out right away to put your towel in a shady spot early on, its mostly taken by 10 am. The floor gets really hot, i saw a child burned with blisters in his feet due to the hot floor by the pool.
The restaurants are better than the buffet for dinner, so make those reservations.
the beach was nice, if you find a gazebo, the sun is really a killer.
The staff was amazing, everyone from the entertaining staff to the workers, always greeted you with a smile. No attitudes.
I don't think i would go back to any Playa Dorada resort but if you want to try something different (from punta Cana0 which is what we did, you'll soon realize that there is nothing better that those resorts there.
All and all we had a good time.

quick and painless

average-could get remodeled, outdated.

Restaurants and Bars:
pretty good

pools and beach are good

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:

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"Nice place to stay."

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Shawn  on Nov 21, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Nov, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
377 people found this review helpful

It was a nice place to stay, to just relaxe. Second trip to the DR. This was just to relaxe and it was the perfect week to do so. We got to the resort, they had given us the wrong room (two doubles as we had book a king) they fixed that quickly. There was not many people on the resort (maybe 50) for most of the week. The down part to that is the choice of food was less then when there would have been more people there. The staff is very friendly and fun to be around. The beach is very nice and the sunset are very beautiful. When on the beach though there are venders trying to sell you things as soon as you walk onto the beach. You say no thank you they leave you alone which was a good thing or it would have made for a not so good vacation. The a la carts were ok. Three to pick from during the week. Over all very nice place to stay. As we walked around noticed and were informed that the complex where all the hotels are located there is 14 of them only 6 or 8 are still in operation because they are hurting for people to come to there hotels so some look run down but once that are open are very nice.

Room Number:

October 28, 2012
Left november 4, 2012

clean and alright.
a/c worked, but was controlled by door to patio if the sensor was not locked in the a/c would shout off.

Clean and mantained

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
on go as the day went along, not many people so hard to do many on the resort.

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"Yearly Vacation in DR"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Gary & Norma  on Sep 5, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
951 people found this review helpful

We have vacationed in Puerto Plata 6 times, 5 of them at the Gran Ventana. There isn't one negative thing that we can say about this resort, from greeting and check-in on arrival to the pool and/or beach facilities, to the food at the buffett and a-la-carte's, the bartenders are more than accommodating and will try their best to make whatever type of drink your little desires. The evening entertainment is excellent 90% of the time. The staff are excellent, friendly, accommodating and very hard working. The workers, male and female, work from 6 am until well into the evening. The guys who clean the beach at 6 am are still on the resort doing other chores late into the afternoon and are always pleasant. Many of the staff have learned to speak English, although limited, but can understand what you would like for the most part.
All in all, our vacations are the high light of our year and we can't wait until April 2011 to go back. Gran Ventana, we love you!!!!!!!

Air Canada, excellent.

Rooms are very good, clean and maids are excellent

Restaurants and Bars:
Excellent food and lots to drink. 151 is great for fly bites. We were given this advise by another guest and decided to try it and it worked great. So if you forget your afterbite, just hit the bar.

Great beach and super clean grounds, workers do a great job.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Small mall 5 minute walk. If you like to eat off the resort the food here is great in any of the eating places in the mall.

Other Comments:
Would recommend this resort to anyone. Have been there 5 times and currently booked for our 6th visit. That should speak for itself.

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"Very nice hotel - best of the AI resorts in the Playa Dorada area"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tom  on Sep 9, 2013  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2013 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
290 people found this review helpful

We just returned from a week trip to the Gran Ventana - our first time to Puerto Plata. We choose to go there on a good friend's recommendation: he lives in town several months each year and knows the resorts fairly well. Overall we were thrilled by our experience there.

Overall - gorgeous beach and grounds, real nice people, excellent food, campy shows and not the best drinks. And probably by far the best 4-star resort in the area. If we return to that area and go the AI route again, we'd definitely choose the same place again - and that is not our usual style.

Service. Very nice and efficient people - no complaints at all. Given that local wages are pretty low, we gave out alot of $1 and 100 peso bills during our stay there, as the service was real good.

Internet: free in the main lobby (wifi), 3 real slow and old PCs available for guests beside the lobby, and at a price wifi available in your room. Your room also has a safe deposit box, but you need to pay for a key (in our room it was not one of the newer electric programmable safes).

Very easy - got on the AI resort bus 10 minutes after exiting the airport, and 20 minutes later we'd arrived.

The Gran Ventana has been kept up real well and rooms are being gradually renovated.

Rooms directly overlooking the main pool may be somewhat noisy especially in the evening when the shows are on. Rooms at the back of those two buildings towards the ocean are quiet and nice. Try to get a top third floor room that comes with a much higher ceiling (but there are no elevators for those with mobility issues...). Essentially no rooms are ocean view - even those overlooking the ocean will have their views largely blocked by the large trees. They have an adjoining complex around the quiet adult pool where the rooms were closed in the summer. There, I'd think rooms overlooking that pool would be nice in the high season. However, other rooms in that building on the outside might overlook a service road with at times buses - not the best location.

Restaurants and Bars:
Food. It the best we've had at any 4 star resort so far. If you aren't vegetarian, in our experience the Iberostar Bavaro Beach and the Cancun Club Med had probably better food, but they would be rated on the order of 5 stars. Compared to a Bahia Principe, in Puerto Vallarta the Marival, Fiesta Americana and the Holiday Inn, and to Club Meds we visited in Australia and Brazil, the Gran Ventana is IMHO much better. And for vegetarians, all specialty restaurants had at least 2 vegetarian main dishes and also hors d'oeuvres. That said, like essentially all those other places, the house wine was just barely drinkable.

Cocktails. Essentially based on locally produced alcohols - good rum but beyond that, not the best. We overdid the Pina Colladas and a few other fruity drinks, but were not thrilled by some of the other choices in some bars (not always great fruit juices...). They should break down and at least pay for decent whiskey and tequila, from the UK and Mexico...

Most of the resorts in the area were built around 25 years ago. As a result, unlike some other resort areas, the buildings aren't the most up-to-date in style (e.g., our bathroom was abit dated); on the other hand the greenery is much lush compared to more recent resorts and, by staying in a somewhat older resort, you aren't paying for recent damage to the local environment (important to us).

They have a very large and gorgeous beach, though the wind there is often pretty strong, making it hard to read books at times. Their beach was much larger than all the other resorts we saw walking far in both directions, and it was always easy to get lounge chairs in the shade at the swimming pool and along the beach. I spoke to people at the Barcelo next door and was definitely happy we had chosen the GV instead.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Evening shows - pretty lame and campy, but we were there in the slow season - they might be better in the winter. And they were fun and well attended.
They have a limited variety of organized activities during the day (water aerobics...), plus pool volleyball.

Most people there are on these AI deals including airfare, and the local representatives really push people to buy their own local tours which are invariably real overpriced - the AI tour operators have a large desk beside the main lobby. The nearby Plaza Dorada has several independent tour companies where you can buy excursions for much less (James there has a good reputation). If you go downtown you need to be abit careful - don't flaunt expensive jewels, watches, etc. or wander about aimlessly at night- but otherwise the area is not really dangerous. The tour people at the hotel clearly go out of the way to scare people to make them pay more for their own services, and it is a shame - unfairly hurts the town. We went downtown twice to visit the area (also easy to do with the the half day town tour offered by everyone), and had a day at the Jasmine spa ( - excellent hour-long massage in the morning and, in the afternoon, either a facial, pedicure or manicure... depending on your taste. They also has a simple but outstandingly good lunch, a walk through their property (tasting interesting fresh fruit), the possibility of taking a mud bath (the spring-fed rince pool can be cold!), etc. They are real involved in helping the local rural town community which is an additional plus, and they don't sell through tour companies (you need to e-mail them or call them up). It was somewhat expensive but we thought it much nicer than the usual tourist rum-and-fast-boat sort of day outing. And for those on their last day with an evening flight out, they will pick you up at your resort, give you a full day of relaxation, and then drop you off at the airport.

Finally, the Plaza Dorada (about 50 yards up from the Gran Ventana or Barcelo) has a variety of shops - pharmacy, tourist junk, tee shirts, rum and other liquors, etc. Prices can vary alot from store to store (liquor was cheaper and there was a better selection on the second floor), and some are negotiable (tourist babbles especially). They also have various banks with well guarded ATM machines - easy to withdraw money. They also had a bar and a couple restaurants/discos (which were mostly closed in the slow summer months) for those itching to get out of the resorts. They also have taxis and you can negotiate their prices too, especially if you want them to wait for you for a couple hours and bring you back.

Other Comments:
We'd return (and returning to AI resorts is not really our style...).

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