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“Good resort, great staff, excellent beach”

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Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Reviewed 22 February 2012

This was my 2nd time in Margarita, 1st time at Dunes Resort. Having ready reviews for most of the resports on the island my expectations were not set too high. I was plesantly surprised by the Dunes Resort, while it is not of 5 star quality the pros heavily outweigh the cons. See below we stayed in the premium section which was recently renovated with some modern fixtures:

Cons:
45 mins - 1 hour away from the airport, mall and downtown shopping area.
Towel and bed linens showed some signs of wear.
The beach is not private so we did experience the occasional vendor asking if we wanted to buy.
On the day before we left the water in the tap ran brow a couple times.
The beach bar seemed a bit under staffed, only 1 or 2 bartenders resulted in a line most of the time.


Pros:
The beach at this hotel was amazing, a bit rough if you're travelling with young kids but great for adults.
The premium rooms are equipped with flat sceen tvs and shower jets. I fully enjoyed showering every day and we never had problems with hot water and the TV had several english channels.
The premium section had its own buffet restuarant and bar so that we were able to avoid the long lines and rush at the main restuarant. While I've been to resorts that offer more variety on a daily basis, the menu changed every day with basics like rice, pasta, potatoes, breads, salad and fruit being available every day.
The nightly shows were very entertaining, we only caught 2 shows during our stay but we enjoyed both.
Though the beach got crowded from very early the staff will bring more lounge chairs once they see that you need.
There are main bars throughout the resort so lines were minimal.
The hotel offers a free shuttle (not sure if it is free to all guests but it was free for Trinidadian guests) to the Sambil mall on a daily basis, once you reserve a spot before the day you want to go they will provide a return trip.

All in all we fully enjoyed the experience at Dunes Resort and I would definitely return again the next time I go to Margarita

Room Tip: TIp: Use a day or 2 to explore the island or mainland Venezuela. Before travelling I read trip advis...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank trinitravelgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 February 2012

MY HONEST REVIEW!!
Just returned from a one week stay- all in all it was a good trip. Travelled with 3 other couples One couple stayed in the “old” section and they had to switch rooms right away because theirs was filthy. They were satisfied with the switch. No problems with the rooms in the premium section.

POOLS/SWIMMING/BEACH
I would agree that the pools in the main section were disgustingly dirty. If you are inclined to swim in a pool when you get there, take a shuttle to the premium section and use the pool there. The restaurant in the premium section is also cleaner, so once again I would advise using that restaurant (just because you stay in the old section doesn’t mean you cant use the premium facilities). The waves on the beach are quite big at times but if you don’t go out too far you are fine. One gentleman lost his dentures(that would be me) in the surf, another lost his new glasses, and yet another lost his bathing suit which provided the other beach goers with some great entertainment as they watched his 20 minute struggle to get them back on. As far as being worried about getting robbed on the beach, there really is no need to go past the resorts boundaries, however if you do, just don’t bring anything of value with you. We talked to a local who said kids would be hiding in the bushes and if they saw anything of value they would accost you. He said it was kids looking for cameras etc to sell for drug money. If you didn’t have anything of value they wouldn’t bother you. There is really nothing past the resort boundary anyways so I didn’t see the need to go past there.
FOOD AND DRINKS
I found the food and beer good (better than Cuba) especially the beach restaurant- We ate there everyday for lunch with a good variety and quality of food. Fried chicken and pizza were excellent. Didn’t try the A la carte. Buffet breakfast and supper were fine.
EXCURSIONS
I would suggest tours from “Marcos Tours” My wife and friend went fishing with one of the locals, organized by Marco and had a great time with a shoreline lunch of barracuda. Talked with Marco for quite some time on the beach one day and he was very upfront with us. He offers deep sea fishing tours but told us not to bother at this time of year as the fishing was not very good right now. He provided us with his insight about the state of tourism etc and the country as a whole.
We went on a 6 hour tour with Steve and Marcella from “Cruisin-n-Style” (http://www.casatrudel.com/crusin-n-style.htm) They have a Ford Explorer so can only take 4 people at a time but I would highly recommend them. They are an American couple who have lived on the Island since 1999 Steve is extremely knowledgeable on the history of the island. They took us from one end of the island to the other with stops at a flea market, the National Park, and a small town -Juan Griego. They will customize the tour to suit your wants. Their prices are quite reasonable as well- 6hrs $110 for 4 people(i.e.$27.50 each)

We also took a taxi in to the town of Juan Griego to do some shopping for a half day There are some half decent shops along the main drag and security is not a problem We were not hassled in the least, and there is a National Guard and police presence on the strip.

MONEY
It is hit and miss as to what currency to use- most vendors and shops will take either US or Bolivars, but some will take only Bolivars. Do not exchange US money at the airport- the rate is 4.3 bolivars for $1 US whereas the hotel will give you 7.5.to 1 Some beach vendors will give you 8. to 1 One of the stores on the main drag in Juan Griego actually gave us 8.3. Don’t change too much at a time because you wont find anyone who will change it back to US $ for you

RETURNING HOME
Yes the checkout leaving to go home is a bit much. The guards do go through your luggage upon entry and then your carry on once again before you board, but if you don’t have anything illegal,don’t worry about it just relax, smile and be on your way

So! Would I go back?? Probably not to this resort for the simple reason we have gone to a different vacation spot each year for the last 8 years and will continue to try new ones
I will however return to Margarita Island in the future Having said that,I would recommend anyone to try the Dunes if the price is right ($1500 to $1800 for a couple)

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Ronsportsc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2012

I needed to upgrade my room the first day. There is an old section and a new section. I was in the old section and tried to upgrade to New section. They said it is too full. My first room was damp. Smelled like mold. Toilet didn't work and no hot water. I couldn't believe they allow people to stay in those rooms. There is only one restaurant that you can only book once a week with very poor food and the same beverage selection as the buffet. I was there for Valentine's dinner. Extremely dissapointed. There is only one buffet with bland repetive food selection. The pool was disgusting with debris floating and in the pool. Do not swim in it. There are so much to write that was disappointed. The good things were that the beach area was great. Internet WiFi connection was good and there is a small grocery market in the old section that has everything that u need with fair prices and excellent cappuccino. My suggestion is resort is very overpriced for the condition. If you have traveled before this is not for you.

  • Stayed: February 2012
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1  Thank blazer24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2012

I just came back from this resort, I enjoyed my stay, the food was varried and good, the grounds were in good shape, constant up keep, while the older part was a spanish style, well kept but some upgrades would be welcome, i,e, Bathroom. My biggest complaint was the wild surf very high waves and a great undertow, several guests had to be rescued. The pools were terrific. However our return to Montreal was horrible, all the passengers were subjetced to a suit case search, our belongings were taken out and checked, there seems to be a great interest in my make-up bag and my wallet, we had been informed by the Sun Wing Rep to keep an eye on the soldier that did the search, he alluded to the fact that things could be placed in our bags. The final straw was another hand luggage search and a pat down before we could get on our flight. Many passengers I talked to, indicated that they would not go back. I have never felt so unsafe, we were also informed that there had been several instances of assaults and robberies in the vicinity of the hotel.

In all the years that I have travelled south, be it Argentina or Brazil I have never had such an experience. I have been to Cuba 7 times and I have never encountered this intrusion of my person.

This experience has left a very bad feeling and I will NOT be going back, it is shame because the staff and the people I have met were wonderful. I am looking forward to reading other reviews if other guests have had the same experience as I have had.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank solo022
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2012

I have traveled south a few times, mostly all inclusive, and am able to go with the flow with the best of them. Even adaptable as I am I must unfortunately report that this was the worst food experience I've had simply because everything tasted of nothing. No salt, no spices, nothing to pep things up. Meat very tough, both beef and pork. The goat and chicken were okay.Stay away from the chicken burger, please. Yes, the vegetables were fresh and plentiful. Fruits were rare however. There were NO bananas for two weeks. Proper butter was rare. I made friends with quite a few people and the last week of two we were all down to french fries, hamburgers and spaghetti. I can eat this at home, thank you. There was only one à la carte restaurant, NOT two. The 'Premium' restaurant is a glorified cafeteria. There was no such thing as a carving station for a roast anywhere to be found. The closest to made to order was the pasta bar.

Bar drinks were fine. The coffee was great. I was told the beer was good and also nice and cold. No club soda for the last three days puts a dent in a lot of peoples' choices. Including mine.

Not a great experience when you consider all inclusive means including stuff you want and have also paid for.

Staff were for the most part very friendly and always helpful. They were great to me. There are sourpusses everywhere, can't let that get you down. I speak Spanish so this was a big plus for me as I noticed the majority of the staff's knowledge of either English or French was lacking to a considerable extent.

Stay only in the 'Premium' section is my advice. I didn't listen to the reviews and booked the regular section and had to change the same night we arrived. The air conditioning in the old section was like being in an antiquated wind tunnel. AND you can't turn it off. Upgrading to Premium on the spot is very expensive ($500. for two weeks for two people) and time consuming exactly when you don't want to spend the time doing it. Do it ahead of time. Trust me on this one point, if nothing else.

Take note however that there are communicating doors between most of the rooms in the Premium section so sound-proofing leaves to be desired. Patience and social skills could be required.

The beach is lovely. Fine sand. Clean. Long. You could look at the view the rest of your life and you wouldn't get tired. (The same can also be said for the views of the mountains if you get Premium looking out on the pool.) Water is rough and red flags are always out. Undertow is quite strong. Beach sellers do not harass and are pleasant. Forget the hotel massage people and go for Julia (an independent) at the end of the beach near the guards. Went twice. Definitely worth it. Not expensive either.

Please, please listen to the guards and don't go where they tell you to avoid. There were two hold-up's while we were there. One of two tourists and another one of a restaurant owner on the beach! Banditos everywhere, no joke. And I'm no chicken.

By cleanliness lacking I am referring to the hotel furnishings and not the rooms. All of the upholstery needs cleaning and/or replacing. When you sit down and then have to get up or at least not have your back touch the cushions so as not to feel the grime through your shirt you've got a big problem. One of my friends got a rash just from sitting down on one of the chairs in the reception.

The mix of people was good. Lots of kids the first week though. Beware that the Mission Statement of the hotel, in Spanish only please note, is to increase their penetration into the Venezuelan population by 12% in 2012. Read into that what you will.

Excursions are plentiful and worth it I was told. I did them all five years ago and found this was one of the best places down south, bang for buck.

This hotel is getting long in the tooth and it shows. I hope they redo the place and get it together soon otherwise I predict an exodus of foreign tourists. It could have potential but they will need to put a lot of elbow grease into it for it to improve.

If you're easygoing this could be the place for you IF food is not important. I can still see the smiles on the peoples' faces. And what a lovely beach!

Room Tip: Premium room. 3rd floor looking out on pool. Try for building 54.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank JamesAnthonyW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort

Address: Calle Campo Elias | Sector El Pueblito, Pedro Gonzales, Margarita Island 2000, Venezuela
Region: Venezuela > Insular Region > Coastal Islands > Margarita Island > Pedro Gonzales
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Pedro Gonzales
Price Range: ₹ 3,772 - ₹ 9,951 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort 4.5*
Number of rooms: 578
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Also Known As:
Dunes Hotel And Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel Margarita
Dunes Resort All Inclusive Beach
Dunes Beach Resort
Dunes Hotel & Beach Resort Margarita Island, Venezuela

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