Gran Ventana Beach Resort Reviews

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Gran Ventana Beach Resort  

PLaya Dorada, Puerto Plata. República Dominicana

"Quite disappointing"
Posted by: Jill  on Feb 1, 2016
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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 3.9

Based on 31 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: 3.9 of 5 31 reviews
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"We would definitely recommend it to our friends."

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

Posted by:  Darrell & Brenda~  on May 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2009
422 people found this review helpful

My husband and I have just returned from our vacation in Puerta Plata. We stayed at the Gran Ventana April 22-29/09. This was our fourth trip to Puerta Plata, first to this resort. Would we go back to the Gran Ventana? Yes we would. This is our fifth trip to the Dominican Republic; we have also been to Cuba and Mexico.

Our trip was with Air Canada Vacations. We were battling a head wind most of the way down so we had a fair amount of turbulence, the return flight was pretty smooth, no turbulence at all. Because of the headwind we were also a little late arriving. No problem with seats, plenty of legroom. Bring your own food or be prepared to buy on board. They do still give out free water, coffee, tea, juice and soft drinks.

The weather was pretty good for us. The first day and a half was sunny and hot. On the third day and every day after that we had a morning downpour and an evening downpour that lasted about ˝ an hour. The rest of the day was sunny with some scattered clouds. We did have a couple of 10 minute sun showers. Yep, the sun was shining and there were raindrops, actually it was kind of refreshing. I did see a lot of sunburned people. I also got a little too much sun on the 2nd day.

Check in was quick and we found the front desk staff to be very friendly and professional; our room was ready when we arrived around 2:30. You can leave your luggage with the bell boys and they will deliver it to your room. We opted to take it ourselves so we didn't have to wait on it. We were given room 1242 in the Soana Building. The room was large and well kept. We had a king-sized bed. The mattress was firm, just the way we like it, we both slept very comfortably. The room was clean, no mold, no bugs, no bad smells, no worries, plenty of hot water and the shower pressure was perfect. Our room faced the beach. The room next to ours was vacant all week so we basically had no neighbours. The resort is designed so everything is only steps apart and everything is easily accessible. There is an in room safe $16 US/wk (key), double closet, hairdryer, phone, table with two chairs, long desk with three drawers the fridge was in this unit, TV and bedside tables, no clock, great air conditioning plus a ceiling fan over the bed. The furniture was very nice and all was in good shape. We did not need our converter for the plugs. There are several English TV channels, including movies. The fridge contained a 4 lt bottle of water, two beers and two pop. The bathroom was a good size, with tub and shower. Get your beach towels at the hut next to the pool. VIP guests get a gift of a bottle of Brugal Rum and a very nice fruit plate!

The workers kept the beach very clean. There are spots where you can enter the water pretty easily. Watch for a couple of rocks. We took water shoes but didn’t need them in the water. The snorkeling is OK immediately in front of the resort. There are enough fish to keep you entertained but nothing like I have seen in the Mayan Rivieria. There might have been more fish further out, but I stayed within a hundred feet of the beach or so. The beach is protected by a reef. Not a lot of wave action right on the beach itself. No worries of being knocked off your feet getting in or out of the water.

There are a lot of beach vendors and they arrive early in the day. They are selling everything from hair braiding to newspapers. Jewellery, cover-up, bathing suits, shirts, toys, flip flops, crocks (knock-offs), coconuts, wood carvings, paintings, massage, pedicure, manicure, excursions, etc. A simple no thanks will do fine. If you are not interested they do not harass you. The Orange Market is another story. If you are brave enough to enter, there are bargains to be had. But, be warned it is like a feeding frenzy. Everyone wants you to “come look in my shop”.

There are three pools; the pool by the Beata building is the “quiet” pool, it is a pretty good size. The larger pool has a swim up bar. There was music by the pool daily. The third pool is a tot pool is it beside the main pool. I can’t remember if there were any Jacuzzis. The entertainment staff was active around the main pool during the day. They played Bingo in the afternoon other than that I don’t know what else they did in the afternoons because we were usually by the beach around the palapa area. They do have a playground and I think a children's club.

Bars – Lobby Bar, Pool Bar and Swim up Bar, Beach Bar and Quiet Pool Bar. Good selection of drinks.
Nightly entertainment – Is pretty well standard AI shows. Ms Gran Ventana, Karaoke, Michael Jackson, Dance night, etc. They were supposed to have a beach party one night but the evening shower changed that.

Food - we had no problem finding food. Breakfast was good, lots to choose from. Bacon, sausages, egg station, smoothie station, pastries, fruit, yogurt, cereal, etc etc. Lunch was good also. There was always something in chicken, pork and fish, vegetables, rice, salads, fruit, deserts, breads and rolls. Great deserts. If you did not want to eat at the buffet, you had other choices. At lunch there was a menu you could order from in the beach grill. They also had self serve, pizza, fruit, chicken wings (no sauce), French fries, salads, nacho chips, cheese, soup and a type of chilli. We were booked as VIP so we could also use the Victoria Resort’s beach grill and resort facilities. We ate at their beach grill twice and enjoyed it very much. We also ate at the GV’s Italian (over by the Beata Bldg) and beach side restaurants. Great food and plenty of it.

There are four computers located by the main lobby, up the stairs from the guest services desk ($3US 30 minutes).

We’ve been to this area before so we only took one excursion off the resort which was a morning horse back ride. We booked this on the beach from Gregory. It was great, it had rained a couple of times that week so there was some puddles and mud on the ride. Still was fun. Make sure you take bug repellent. The rain showers tend to bring out the bugs. I have seen it worse in other places, but if the bugs like you then you better take spray. Overall, we had a great vacation. The Gran Ventana is a great place and we have no complaints about the resort. We would definitely recommend it to our friends.

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"Overall we enjoyed the Gran Ventana"

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

Posted by:  Jim  on Apr 1, 2009  >  12 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2009
429 people found this review helpful

Arrival: March 27 to April 3
We arrived on schedule in the late evening and were greeted with a welcome drink at check in. Check in went well and we were directed to our rooms and informed that our luggage would be delivered shortly. We had requested the Catilina building and our request had been accomodated. The porter was quick to arrive and was friendly and gave us the run down on the room. This was our 8th Dominican vacation and our first stay at the Gran Ventana.

The room was very clean and tidy and the decor was pleasant. Bathroom was spotless. The beds were comfortable, the air conditioner worked good and the ceiling fan was a great bonus. There was always lots of water pressure and hot water - probbaly the best we have had at any resort. No irons in the room so pack your clothes neatly. The room was cleaned spotless every day and the bar fridge was always restocked. The resort is large and there seems to be a lot of houskeeping staff that work very hard. They are all very pleasant and friendly.

Restaurants and Bars
On arrival the main buffet was closed as it was 10:30 p.m., so we had a bite at the snack wagon that runs each night and is located outside the main buffet entrance. We had hotdogs and though we were starved after our flight we found them to be less than appealing. The snack wagon definitely needs an upgrade.
We found the first 2 days that the food at the main buffet was always only warm - later in the week it seemed that the heat was turned up and the food was served hotter. The main buffet for breakfast each day was good with a wide selection and good food presentation. Lunch and dinner buffets were good and there always was something for everyone. Be sure to try lunch at the beach restaurant - great wings, burgers, fish, nachos and chicken. Table staff do a reasonable job as it is a large area to cover and they do serve a lot of people. Sometimes it is necessary to catch their attention to get that extra coffee or clear a spot if you are waitng to sit at a table. Some are friendlier than others and some are more attentive but overall good. Some discrepancies as to how many a-la- cartes you can book - some guest got only one while others had 2 or all 3 - not sure what the reson was. We ate at the 3 a-la-cartes and found them to be very good. The steak at the Octopus was fantastic. Staff at all 3 were very professional, attentive and polished - great job. The bars and bartenders were all very good. Premium drinks were all inclusive also for the most part. The house table wine was good and supplies stood up to our demands - probably too well some days...

The main pool is large. There are many loungers and umbrellas but are all very close together in most places. The front row loungers are exactly that – and are pulled right up to the pool edge. Seems a little crammed. There is an excellent kid's pool right beside the main pool. There is a very nice quiet pool area located in another area that is much more spacious and relaxing. The pool is very clean and an army of staff scrub and clean the area each morning. The stereo system at pool side that is used by the activity staff is poor and the music is repetitive and not very entertaining, take your IPOD. The beach has a good number of chairs. It is cleaned daily and was the cleanest of all the resorts in the complex. The reef is very close to the shore so no big waves. You can snorkel close to shore and see many fish just while wadding and swimming. Overall the grounds are well manicured and clean.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Althoug we did not do it this time we have been on the Outback Safari and would highly recommend it. We did take a trip to Mount Isabella and rode the cable car to the top - this is a must see and do. It a a very worthwhile and affordable trip.

Other Comments
The satff do speak very good English. They patiently help with our struggling Spanish and always are politely helpful. Overall we enjoyed the Gran Ventana. It is a much larger resort than what we usually go to. If we were to come as a family with our kids and grandchildren it would be a great choice. It is because of our taste for a smaller resort that we probably would not return for a second visit. That certainly should not reflect on the overal quality of this resort as it is - friendly, clean, fairly well appointed, has a good relaxing beach. With a little upgrade on the main buffet and the snack wagon it would be much closer to its 4.5 star rating.

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"We hope to go back next year."

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

Posted by:  Laurence  on Apr 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2009
442 people found this review helpful

Arrival: April 12 - 19
Flight was delayed about 1/2 hour, so we got to GV after 9 p.m. I checked in while my wife looked after luggage, so we were first in (no welcome drink!) but urged to get a move on so we could get something to eat before the buffet closed at 10. We did and we did!

Room was not as requested but too good to complain about. Back of Saosa building, overlooking service lane, silent at night with some noise from kitchen/laundry n the day (who cares?). Room was non-smoking, a real plus. Spotlessly clean, Beds hard but not bad as pillows were good. AC noisy on high speed, but we didn't complain as we rarely ran it on high. Sleep with earplugs when traveling anyway. Bathroom huge, new, but poorly-lit. Mini-fridge always stocked (left a tip every day.

Restaurants and Bars
Bars inconsistent, by location and bartender. Some drinks stronger than others, often depending on time of day. Some follow the recipe for the mixed drinks (3 ingredients or more) and some don't. Bartenders at "swim-up" always enthusiastic. A tip goes a long way. Lobby bar too smoky most nights. Wish beach bar was open later, to catch some quiet and a breeze at night. Pool bar most comfortable fit for us. Didn't try Tiki Bar. BUFFET- always something good and fresh to eat. Pork and chicken more reliable than beef. Fish inconsistent. Variety tops. Table service attentive. BEACH GRILL FOR LUNCH - Great, freshly-grilled chicken and fish. Burgers incnsistent. Wings great, but need some sauce. ITALIAN A LA CARTE - Pasta great. Other dishes inconsistent (E.g. mushroom sauce on grouper made with salty canned mushrooms). Great atmosphere and service, though outside hard to avoid smoke from Tiki Bar at quiet pool. OCEAN GRILL A LA CARTE - Great, especially the grouper and chicken. OCTOPUS - Best of all. Try the lamb, though it's cut off the leg or loin, not chops. Wish I could have eaten there more. Had no problem getting reservations the morning after our night arrival. Got 7 p.m., 6:30, and 6:30 times. Maybe a little early, but that was fine with us.

This is the cleanest, best-serviced location I've seen. Beach isn't as large as the neighbouring resorts, but cleaned and raked daily. The other beaches didn't compare-- dirty, fewer shelters or none. GV is more open and vulnerable to waves, but less likely to be clogged with seaweed than Barcelo, Blue Bay, or Ocidental next door. Gets a little windy late afternoon, but Nova Scotians are used to windy beaches. Fair trade off when the air can be so still and super-heated at the pool. Grounds immaculate. Getup crack of dawn and reserve loungers, esp the shelters on the beach. Sunrise on the beach is beautiful. Sand fleas most active in the morning damp. One morning as I headed to the beach almost every employee was scrubbing the pool area and pathways. The rest were on the beach raking.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Didn't go on any tours. Activation staff not the most motivated, but not as intrusive as at some places. Activities were not well-run. Evening entertainment mostly very amateurish. Someone should unplug the karaoke machine! Two nights there were bands who played sets. That was worth listening to!

Other Comments
We hope to go back next year. Two weeks if possible. Would do some excursions in second week. We went this time planning to do nothing, and the beach was the place for that. I brought a cold from Nova Scotia and felt like death the first three days. Sun and rum drove the plague away. Even someone in as bad a mood as I was in can enjoy GV.

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"The staff are great."

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

Posted by:  Sara  on Apr 1, 2009  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2009
438 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Mar 26 - April 2
Although the flight and airport have no baring on the hotel, going through the airport was very quick. they are doing construction so the walk is a bit longer but our baggage was on the carousel when we got there. My dad needed assistance and was brought through in a wheelchair right from the plane to the bus. Sure wish that would happen at Pearson - we were given next to no assistance there.

Arrival at the hotel was smooth, we expected to wait at least until 3 for our room but one of the porters took care of us and we were in our rooms by 1:30ish. A little confusion with my dad's room as he needed 1st floor, this was cleared up in a matter of minutes.

Rooms were very clean, we did have some fridge stocking issues but nothing that wasn't cleared up in a hurry. We emailed specific room requests about a week before leaving. Although they were unable to give us the exact room we requested, the view from our room was even better - full ocean view (well through the trees). If you wanted to find something wrong with the room, I'm sure you could but it was perfect for us. My dad's room as also perfect for his needs. Always cleaned, fresh linen and towels when requested - they have a new practice where if you want fresh towels you put the old ones in the tub and they replace them, if you want new linens you place a card on the bed and when they make the bed the put down new linens. This cuts down on wasted laundering - who has new sheets everyday at home.

Restaurants and Bars
Luis at the pool bar is amazing. The service at all the bars is good. All bartenders always have a smile on their faces and are happy to serve whatever you're drinking.

The Buffet was good, there was something for everyone at every meal, you just had to look. We did the Octopus Restaurant - food and service was good - no complaints there. We had a slight scare when the lights went out - completely - only to be re-assured to hear "happy birthday' being sung buy the staff and the lights came back on after the candle was blown out. This happened twice during our meal. It was nice for the birthday people. As 'repeaters' we were entitled to use the restaurants the the Victoria down the road. Don't waste your time the food and service at the Gran Ventana is MUCH better.

We walked 45 minutes east and the same west along the beach everyday. We can honestly say the Gran Ventana section was the cleanest in the entire Playa Dorada complex and beyond. It did get windy in the afternoon (like that's the resort's fault??) but if you turned your chair to chase the sun the wind was coming from behind you and less of a bother. We never spent anytime in the pool but it looked and smelled clean.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did not do any tours or excursions. This was a week for us to just do nothing but lay or walk on the beach and that's exactly what we did. Lily (#8) gives a great pedicure and manicure. And Christine is the girl you want braiding your hair. Yep, the venders are there walking the beach but a polite 'no gracias' sends them on their way. Pedro is our jewelery guy and Ramone (#13) for shirts. Always negotiate your price.

Other Comments
We would have liked the evening entertainment to have started a little earlier - the kid's show goes until 9:30. The 'adult' stuff doesn't start until then but were either too tired or too bored to stick around for any of it and ended up retiring early. That would be our only complaint about this resort. The staff are great. They really appreciate when you 'try' to speak their language and will help you learn if you let them.

Oh and special mention must go to Guy the Signature Vacation Rep - He remembered us from last year and when far beyond the call of duty to help us out this year even though we traveled Sunquest. Signature Vacations just earned loyal customers because of Guy and Buddy, his assistant.

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"I just love this hotel that we are looking to go back"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 5.0 of 5

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

This review is just an update from the one I posted in october 2008. Reception was awaiting for us, and at the moment we got into the hotel they saw us and had the papers ready, we did not have to go in line but had an additional check in. Suitcase was already in our room at the time we arrived there. Airco and lights where switched on, we had fresh fruit, biscuits and a bottle of rum in our room. It is lovely how they treat repeaters, at the end I did not even wear my bracelet anymore as it was irritating me, but nobody had any remarks on that. We had a few times diner with one of the managers, it is always nice to hear their story. The hotel was fully booked in February and a little bit to crowded in my opinion. We always had breakfast at 7.00am but even then there was sometimes already a line with the omelet or fresh fruit shakes. We never eat in the evening in the buffet, but always a la carte, but I noticed it was very crowded. Last of February is definitely not the best period to go, it was to crowded and we had 6 days full of rain out of the 15 days. There is a new animation manager and shows are improving a little, still some work to do there. Outside the hotel, coco bongo was still crowded althought nightlife starts around 1.00am, before it is empty on weekdays.

I just love this hotel that we are looking to go back this year in May (but only for 1 week) august and november. My next stay will be my 10th visit to this hotel and the manager told me we would have a special surprise by then. Can not wait to go again.

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"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
440 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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"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
434 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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"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
432 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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"Haggle with the beach vendors--it's expected and fun!"

Gran Ventana Beach Resort
User Rating:  Gran Ventana Beach Resort Review: 4.5 of 5

Posted by:  Cheryl & Stephen from Halifax, NS  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
443 people found this review helpful

Our direct flight was out of Halifax in the evening, so we arrived at the resort around 11pm. Trip was with Sunquest and the charter was Canjet. Food and movies on the plane, good service. Since we arrived late, the airport was pretty quiet and we didn't have long to wait until we were on our way to the resorts. Fast and easy check in process at the hotel and the welcome drinks were a nice touch.

We were in the Beata building, facing the quiet pool. Two double beds, nice size room and balcony. Room was clean, comfortable and as we faced the pool, it was quiet. We did notice some evenings the activity at the Tiki bar was loud, but overall we were very pleased with our room. Never had any water pressure or heat issues and we were on the third floor. Minibar was always refreshed with beer, pop and water, except for one day when they forgot the water. We went to Guest Services around 5, but still no water appeared. Asked at reception around 10 and there was water there in an instant. It wouldn't have been an issue, but they had taken our empty jug away! There were lots of water coolers around the buildings to refill jugs as well as ice machines on each floor.

Restaurants and Bars:
Ate at all the a la carte, enjoyed them all. Our favorite was the Octopus, the most intimate of the three. Make sure you go as soon as possible to book your reservations, as it seems they fill up quickly (particularly the earlier sittings). Buffet was great, always lots of variety, I loved the waffle station each morning and there was also a omelet and smoothie station too. We ate at the Ocean Grill for most of our lunches, as I could take food down to the beach. The fresh salsa and nacho chips there are fantastic!

Ground were spotless, always being cared for well. Beach was lovely, no shortage of loungers, and lots of shade up along the shoreline if you couldn't get a hut. We wandered down the beach and I was amazed at how little shade the other resorts had for their guests. There was always a breeze, particularly in the afternoon, but I enjoyed it. Water was warm, seagrass was raked off the beach each day. The GV seem to take better care of their beach than some of the other resorts, particularly with regards to garbage. Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We didn't do any specific tours as we had a friend take us around PP. We did do the cable car with him, and I would suggest this as a nice way to view PP from the mountain. Go in the morning, as by afternoon, the top of the mountain gets clouded over. It costs $10 US and there are walking trails and gift shops up at the top.

Other Comments::
Change your money at the bank or in town if you can, as the rate of exchange is much better. We got 35 or 34 pesos to the US dollar (the hotel offered 31). The Plaza is an okay place to spend a little time, all the same kinds of stuff though. It is about a 2 minute walk from the GV. There is also the Orange Market on the beach which is about a 15 minute walk. The beach vendors are gracious and really not pushy. A simple No, gracias and they'll move on. They do offer lots of things-jewelery, tours, massages, pedicures, hair braiding, t-shirts, paintings & carvings. Haggle with them--it's expected and fun!

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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
421 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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