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Reviewed 25 December 2009

I have just returned from a fantastic week at the Gran Ventana hotel. I would definitely recommend it - it's not quite the boutique hotel it claims as it must have a 300+ capacity, but it's perfect for a pretty cheap all-inclusive week away.

The Gran Ventana is very clean. Food is really good - a self service restaurant with a wide choice of food including loads of fruit and salads, and 3 other restaurants. The staff are very friendly and provide excellent service, they can't do enough for you. Rooms are good too - we had an extra bed put in our room as there were 3 of us, made it a bit of a squeeze but beds are very comfy, good air con, nice clean bathrooms, fridge, ice machine in the hallway and TV. And the hotel had a lovely beach, two pools - one big one for kids and everyone, and another hidden away which is the quiet pool. nice to have the choice. There are bedrooms surrounding the quiet pool, so if you want a quiet spot ask for a room up there.

We were meant to stay at the Barcelo Puerto Plata Hotel, but were moved before we arrived because there had been an 'incident' at that hotel. People we spoke to at the resort said we'd been moved to a much better place - quieter and better food.

We travelled with Thomas Cook - they were OK on the whole, but they do try the hard sell. We booked diving direct with the hotel - was very good. And we also booked the Bravissimo show which is a busride away - unless you like tacky cabaret, DO NOT BOOK THIS SHOW. It is just dreadful.

The flights were awful - very very cramped and poor service on the flight, but am not sure we could expect more for the money we paid (£700 for the week for everything).

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with friends
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2  Thank CharlieK31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 December 2009

We stayed for a week at the Gran Ventana from December 15th to December 22nd, and we couldn't be happier with our experience. The room (in the Catalina block) was big, bright, and impeccably clean. The bars made delicious mixed dreams. The buffet was a standout, with something for everyone and something special each day (the chocolate desserts in particular were so good that they put the a la carte restaurants' offerings to shame.) The beach was one of the finest and cleanest along the stretch, although swimming was hampered by the reefs a little ways out.

We went on two day trips: Paradise Island and the jeep safari to the waterfalls. Our rep warned us not to book with the beach vendors, but I had read good reviews of Caesar here and ended up booking through him with no problems, and for a much lower price than we would have paid with the official rep. Both trips went great; snorkling among the coral at Paradise Island in particular was an incredible experience (and the speedboat ride there was awesomely hair-raising).

All in all it was a fantastically relaxing vacation. We would go back in an instant!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank qrums
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2009

We were moved to this hotel from the Barcelo Hotel (DO NOT STAY THERE, SEE SEPERATE REVIEW) and were absolutely delighted with every aspect of the hotel, I am a General Manager of a hotel in England and I could not fault the hotel in any way.
The food is excellent and a great choice. The Italian was very nice, the Caribbean was beautiful and air conditioned and the Grill by the beach was a superb location. Buffet breakfast and lunch had something for everyone.
The service in all areas was superb, the restaurant reservation girl (Miss Garcia) was 100%, a diamond. the front desk were so helpful and all the waiting staff were spot on. The biggest mention has to go to the housekeeping team, they were so friendly, unobtrusive and the standard of cleanliness and maintenance in the bedrooms was as good as any hotel I have ever stayed in.
Nice to have the fridges in the rooms, replenished every day. The selection of TV channels was great, kills the time from coming in from the sun to getting ready for a night out. Lots of free movie channels, even had Fox Soccer with live English games (sad I know).
Our stay here was perfect in every way after a disappointing start at the Barcelo.
I would 100% recommend this hotel and challenge anybody who has critisism of the hotel.
The management team at the hotel should be very proud of how this hotel is operated.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank imps1208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 December 2009

Vacationed at this hotel because we were in Santiago and wanted to enjoy the beach for a few days.

Pros: The service was very good, attentive, friendly staff. Nice beach. Ala Carte restaurant on the beach was very good. Room was clean and air-conditioning worked well, mini fridge stocked with water and soda and beer.

Cons: Buffet meals were just so so and the Italian restaurant was awful. Pool area so loud all day with activities (the quiet pool was nice). Drinks in tiny plastic glasses, I understand at the pool but at the bar? No free internet and even when you paid for it to use in the lobby it only worked sometimes. My daughter had school work to do so we had to go elsewhere to find internet for her. If you want to taxi into town you have to let them call a cab and it is more expensive than a cab you could get yourself.

My impressions: It is not a place that I would go again. You are not going to get any flavor for the country that you are visiting. Go if you like to be around a mostly European crowd who like to sunbathe topless and have lots of drinks and smokes and loud games poolside. It is not what I would call an upscale hotel compared to places I have been in Mexico and Hawaii for the same price.

  • Stayed: December 2009
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1  Thank luv2vacation14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 December 2009

Stayed at the Gran Ventana, for 2 weeks, 24/11/09-08/12/09, good no problem flights by Thomson from Manchester plenty of leg room so nice flight same on the return. The weather for the 2 weeks was fantastic, 90 plus everyday, only 2 showers on the last day, what more could you ask for!!!

We had a wonderful holiday, we had a nice room on the third floor in the Catalina Block with a pool view, recently refurbished, high vaulted ceiling with fan and really good air-con which was really needed at anytime you were in the room. Mini fridge with 2 bottles of free beer, soft drinks and water, TV with 50 channels, with live Premiership games via a US site, nice.

The hotel has everything you want for a great all inclusive holiday, the food in the buffett and all 3 speciallity restaurants was excellent, all the staff were very friendly and service was always first class.

The guests were about 75% British, some Swedes, Canadians, Poles, but No Russians!!! All the staff spoke English so no communication problems. Plenty of tattoe's, a few 'Chavs' who were no problem they were just having a holiday like everyone else.

The main swimming pool was obviously well used due to the great weather and staff do their best to keep it clean, but it can get a bit 'mucky', there were plenty of sun beds, however we used the 'quiet' pool in the Beata Block, the rooms there were being renovated so only about 20 people used it during our whole stay. The bar run by 'Jacki' was open and it was so nice to relax in the sun and have the bar 20 yards away. No loud music or children running around!!! The lager and mixed drinks were all good.

The beach was soft white sand the sea warm!! although the hotel was only 50% full you still had to get up early to get a parasol on the beach, although there was plenty of shade under the trees at the back, there were plenty of spare sun beds to go around. there's a nice beach bar and great lunchtime food. The beach sellers could be a bit of a 'pain' but a firm 'No' usually works.

The whole hotel,the rooms, public rooms, restaurants and gardens were kept immaculately clean and the staff never stopped cleaning!! A nice touch was at the enterance to all the restaurants was hand sanitising gel which all people entering had to use, so we never heard of anyone having any stomach problems, perhaps hotels in Egypt might try using this system to cut down on the stomach problems out there!!!!

Thanks go to the First Choice Rep, 'Guy' who was really helpful and who gave the best welcome meeting I have ever heard, funny, informative and no pressure to sell trips. To Raul the 'Captain' of the buffet, for my 'hot' coffee every morning, these little things make for a great holiday and all his staff tried really hard to cater for all the guests. There was the usual fresh cooked Omlettees and Eggs and American bacon etc every morning. (You will put weight on!!)

The entertainment was typical of this type of holiday and the Animation Team tried hard to get people involved, but as the Rep said 'You didn't pay for Las Vegas'.

Overall a well run hotel which is a credit to the mamangement, I would be happy to return and to recommend it to a friend. What more can I say!!!!

Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
1  Thank spencer226
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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