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Reviewed 17 January 2004

My wife and I have just returned on January 15th from a one week vacation at the Gran Ventana Beach Resort. Some reviews posted here might make you think twice about booking but here is the real scoop about this property in a few paragraphs. We have traveled to many other 4+ resorts in the past and this property was definitely above average.At check-in, we were greeted with a refreshing fruit punch which was very welcomed as it was 28C, sunny and humid. Our room was very nice and clean. It was located in the Catalina building on the 3rd floor overlooking the busy pool. To save yourself some time and aggravation, make sure you get a remote control and a safe key before going to your room. Also, make sure that the patio door is closed completely if your AC is not working. Although this is written in the documentation you get when you check-in, you will probably be sweating bullets trying to figure out how to lock your safe by the time you realize that you actually have this information in the documentation. One last thing here, fold up 2 small pieces of cardboard or whatever and stick them in the slot by the door (rather than your key chain) so that you have 24hr lights and AC. There is another complex that they call the quiet area and boy was it ever! There is more noise in libraries! It is a nice area if you prefer an extremely quiet vacation but it is a little further from the main reception area and buffet restaurant.The entire property was very clean and well maintained. The staff was always friendly and very entertaining especially by the pool bar. The Fun Team was always around saying stupidities which were actually very entertaining. About the bars, they have a menu outlining the composition of their most popular drinks which incidentally are not watered down one bit! In fact, they would probably give you a full bottle of rum to drink if you asked!The food was definitely above average. The buffet had a good selection and the deserts will keep you coming back for seconds. The a la carte Italian restaurant was awesome, great chicken. One thing about the food is that you can leave your Pepto Bismol at home as you probably won t need it. We didn t, in fact we gained a few pounds. In the unlikely event that you need some medicine don t sweat it as DR is quite civilized. There is a Shopping Plaza by the hotel where you can by just about anything, even Viagra for Women! This is definitely different from Cuba for instance, where you can t find a Tylenol to save your life and the food is not even suitable for Ethiopians.The beach was nice, small waves and warm water. Keep in mind though that beaches in this part of the country don t have white sand and crystal clear water, those beaches are found in the South. Nevertheless, there are plenty of available chairs, a nice breeze and plenty of topless sunbathers, binoculars are a must!The Gran Ventana is located in the Playa Dorada complex and is probably the most luxurious hotel in that area. It is located only a few minutes away from currency exchange outlets, a golf course, casinos and discos. The security was always present, even on the beach, ensuring that only its guests were allowed on the property unlike some other hotels where anyone could walk in. All in all, the Gran Ventana is a great resort that we would highly recommend for anyone looking for a clean, well located and stress free fun place.

20  Thank alment
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2004

Have just returned on 12/28/03 from the Gran Ventana, and had a great holiday! Food was absolutely fine, and all the staff and locals friendly. One of our sea view rooms smelled a little musty but the air con on full, and a couple of candles sorted it out. My teenage children would have liked a disco, but both made some great Canadian and English friends. Not much to buy in Puerto Plat, and the shops in the nearby Mall very poor, but we loved the country, hotel + all, and would definatley go back there !!!

2  Thank KJHESKETH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
12
Reviewed 9 January 2004

Well where do I begin with my stay at the Gran Ventana. I booked a trip for my husband and myself to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary. We left New York for sunny Dominican Republic on a Wednesday morning. When we arrived at the resort the lobby was ok, the staff did not speak much English so thank god for my Spanish background I was able to communicate with them. Our check in took about three minutes, which I found rather fast. We look around at the nice pool and were glad to feel the sun on our skin not the cold air of New York. We walked up two flights of stairs to our room. The minute I opened the door my mouth dropped the room was awful, it smelled looked dirty and the ocean view we were promised was nowhere to be found. My husband said it was ok but I wasn t happy so he said relax for a moment so I did. We turned on the TV and I just couldn t sit there and relax with the way I felt but then all of a sudden no lights. What is going on, so I call the front desk and told them that I have no remote for my television and I have no lights. The kind lady told me that you have to sign for a remote when you check in and you have to put your key chain in the light switch, what did I get myself into. I immediately went downstairs and told then that the room smelled, we don t have an ocean view and I was never told about the remote control and key chain in the light switch. She apologized and explained that the paper that was given to me during check in explained all of this, really I wish I could have read the paper she gave me the ink was fading. She offered another room but I was warned that the rooms smell like that because of the humity, the room we have is an ocean view but it cannot be seen because of the palm trees, once again what did I get myself into. Ok, let me calm down and make the best of this I said ok and I just went back to my room with my remote and extra room key in my hand. Thinking the stay was going to get better, wrong, they have no irons in the rooms a housekeeper can come up at a charge and iron your clothes, the towels in the room looked awful, your only allowed two towels at the pool, the drinks were not good and the food was not good at all. The best thing I must admit is the sun, pool, the kind staff and the entertainment at night, that s it, your get what you pay for.

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Ottawa, Canada
12
Reviewed 8 January 2004

We visited the Gran Ventana in February of 2003 and are headed back in 3 weeks. Loved it, loved it, loved it. We were treated like royalty, the food was great, the pools great, the room phenomenal (with a dresser :)... We just had a great time. This resort is everything that everyone says it is (except the person who didn't have a dresser).
There is a really nice "quiet pool" when you are nursing a headache or just feel like reading quietly and there is the "fun" pool when you feel like kicking up your heels so to speak. We can't wait to go back.
Nancy

2  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2004

My wife and I stayed at this hotel from Dec. 18-25th, 2003 and loved our stay ! We have been to 5 other Caribbean Islands and have found this hotel to be among the best for service. In fact, we are rating this hotel a 4 out of 5 mostly due to the hotel's staff and service, which was second-to-none. Our beachfront room was very spacious and was kept clean by the housepeople. Although we expected the food to be less-than-average, we were pleasantly surprised by most of the food, although it certainly couldn't be categorized as "excellent" by any means, except for certain very specific dishes; nonetheless, most dishes were very tasty (i.e. for example, MUCH better than Cuba but not comparable to St-Martin). The beach was somewhat of a disappointment in terms of cleanliness, in that there were a couple of days in which we found much debris/ocean junk scattered along the shoreline. However, the water was very warm. We would recommend that you absolutely stay away from their 151-proof rum (it's deadly!). In fact, you may find that the pool bar's bartender occasionally sprays the wasps with an "unknown" liquid that IMMEDIATELY kills those pesty insects (yes ... he spays them with 151-proof rum !). We found the Octopus Restaurant to be the best of this hotel's "a la carte" restaurants. One important note about the tours available: DO NOT MISS the "Dolphin Encounter" tour at Ocean World ... it was FANTASTIC !!! All in all, a very enjoyable holiday and one which we could recommend as you shouldn't leave disappointed.

3  Thank ARCNLC3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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