Todd and I spent 8 days at the VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic from March 29 to April 5. This is our experience. The weather was gorgeous, as it usually is. This was my 2nd time to the DR and Todd’s 3rd. We booked via cheapcarribean.com and arranged for private transport from the airport. When we arrived at the resort, we were whisked up to the Vintage Club where we met with Laura, one of three concierges, as we had the premium package. She provided us with drinks and got us our room keys and information regarding the resort and then brought us to our room where the bellhop met us with our bags.
The room was light, airy and spacious with a large king bed, an armoire with tv and mini fridge and a desk. There were a few downsides though. I was disappointed to find that there was no dresser, only a closet with a few hangers and a couple of shelves, one of which was taken up by the room safe – though you have to pay extra for a lock. We also had a balcony with a couple of plastic chairs – not the comfiest furniture to relax in. The bed was a bit too hard for our taste, but we got use to it after a couple of nights. The water pressure in the shower is lack luster and the temperature fluctuates.
A few housekeeping negatives that we noticed: multiple people enter your room during the day. One person takes the dirty towels, another comes in to clean – mop, make the bed – while another person restocks the towels (sometimes late at night and since the other person took the dirty towels, you are out of luck for bathing). Another person restocks the fridge (two sodas, two beers and one to two waters). Trying to find bottled waters on this resort was not an easy task!
Now on to the food which was the biggest disappointment for us. The buffet is not open all day long. It closes after breakfast and doesn’t open for lunch until 12:30pm. It closes at 3:00 and doesn’t open again until 6:30 for dinner. There is no room service, so if you miss any of these times, you’re out of luck. The food is only ok, though we found things every day that we liked and became a staple. The pasta was always a go to option for us. There’s not a lot of variety day to day. And the desserts were never spectacular.
There are three restaurants on site – Italian, Carribean and Ocean. Our favorite was definitely the Italian restaurant. All three had a great vibe. And because the resort is small, we were able to make reservations for the restaurants with the concierge in the Vintage Club in the morning for later that night.
The resort itself is well kept for its age. It is small and intimate. We stayed in the Catalina building. It was clean and the staff were friendly. Wifi was available throughout the resort. Spotty at times, but manageable. If you need reliable wifi, visit the Vintage Club. It has its own hub that works perfectly. Plus the drinks there were top notch. And you could usually find some pastries and appetizers near the cucumber water.
We really liked that the resort was quiet – it tended toward an older crowd and there wasn’t a ton of night life options. The shows were not of any great quality, so we never really participated, but we did enjoy the fact that we didn’t hear any loud, late night noise in our room during our stay.
There are two pools – the main one, which was very family oriented could get loud, but not overly rambunctious, and the “quiet” pool – which is just what it implies… we found it to be eerily quiet and wished that there was a middle option. But really, we didn’t spend any time in the pools because we were busy spending much of our time in the VIP section of the beach lounging on the Bali beds, which there are plenty of. The beach is definitely the biggest draw to this resort. The waitstaff were friendly and usually provided water along with our drinks. The ocean was clean, as was the beach. Vendors do roam, but for the most part they weren’t overly pushy.
The gym is a bit of a joke. It is run down and very small. Being body builders, Todd and I still used it every morning. We didn’t mind the beaten up dumbbells and stayed away from the rusty treadmills and broken stair stepper – very much a “dungeon gym”. We saw many people come up the stairs and turn right around and leave. There were never any towels… and it did get warm, so be prepared to sweat. The water cooler was only sometimes filled. We did manage to get a good pump every morning and then headed off to breakfast for carbs and protein.
There is a small mall that is about a two minute walk right off the resort. It is full of chotcke and knick knacks. We managed to pick up some souvenirs at a good price. We also visited the convenience store to pick up some snacks a couple of times (back to the disappointing time constraints on food options at the resort). There is also a pharmacy in the mall.
We did do one excursion to Ocean World. We enjoyed the shows and looking at the animals. The food was nothing special, but overall it was a good value. We ended up hoping an early ride home because we finished everything within 2 hours and didn’t want to spend another 2. They were able to accommodate us and we got back to the resort for some more beach time.
Overall we had a wonderful time. We probably would not return to the Gran Ventana, but were not disappointed with our trip. It was quiet and relaxing, just the way we wanted it!