VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort is an all-inclusive, three-and-a-half-pearl property located on lovely Playa Dorada beach. Gran Ventana offers a typical, upper-middle-range all-inclusive experience, which means a steady lineup of activities, a massive main pool, and a couple of decent dining options. The resort’s 506 rooms have generic decor and the limited Wi-Fi will be annoying for some, but those seeking a simple, no-fuss vacation are likely to be satisfied. It’s worth comparing amenities and rates with Be Live Collection Marien.
Laid-back all-inclusive property drawing a mix of families, groups, and couples
Gran Ventana’s lush, oceanfront property is divided into three sections of low-rise guest-room buildings. Connected by wide stone pathways lined with neatly-manicured greenery, these buildings have a subtly Mediterranean feel thanks to their red-tiled roofs and whitewashed facades.
The different areas of the property allow Gran Ventana to cater to its diverse clientele. The buzzing main pool offers a high-energy vibe that’s ideal for those looking to party, while guests interested in a more low-key getaway can head to the Beata Wing with its quiet, adult-only pool. A kids’ club, kiddie pool, and services like babysitting ensure families are taken care of as well.
Guests lounge around the breezy lobby at all hours -- partly because it’s the only place where free Wi-Fi is available. It has an elegant yet beachy aesthetic with rattan furniture and an elaborate central chandelier. The restaurants aren’t especially impressive nor are the rooms, but overall the resort offers solid value for guests after an uncomplicated, all-inclusive experience.
On the beachfront, in the gated Playa Dorada resort complex
Gran Ventana is one of around a dozen resorts located in the community of Playa Dorada. It’s a safe, tourist-oriented neighborhood, where horse-drawn carriages can regularly be heard clip-clopping up and down the main street.
The resort is less than a five-minute walk away from Playa Dorada Plaza mall, where guests will find a handful of shops, souvenir stalls, banks, and a movie theater. Playa Dorada Golf Course, where guests can play for discounted rates, is right across the street. There are a few restaurants and bars within walking distance too, but most guests prefer to dine on site to take advantage of the resort’s all-inclusive rates. Downtown Puerto Playa is less than a 15-minute drive away, while the surf-mecca of Cabarete can be reached in about 40 minutes. It’s about 20 minutes by car to Gregorio Luperon International Airport.
Pleasant rooms offer minibars along with private balconies or terraces
Guest rooms at Gran Ventana are large and clean, if not especially stylish. Dark tiled floors and powder blue accents set the backdrop for wooden furniture in an old-fashioned style. Though the look doesn't feel fresh, furnishings are quite well-maintained. All rooms include flat-screen TVs and minibars stocked with water, soda, and beer. Personal safes and Wi-Fi both come at an extra fee. Balconies or terraces furnished with a pair of chairs and a table are standard -- some have ocean views while others overlook the grounds.
The big, marble bathrooms have shower/tub combos and off-brand toiletries. Vanities offer plenty of counterspace, in addition to wall-mounted hairdryers. Suites and Junior Suites add coffeemakers along with extra space, while split-level Penthouses have separate living areas.
Two pools with swim-up bars, direct access to beautiful Playa Dorada beach, and a full roster of activities
Gran Ventana’s extensive array of amenities cater to its varied guests, who range from young groups to older couples. The focal point of the resort is a sprawling, zero-entry pool. There are swaying palm trees dotted around the deck and a thatched-roof swim-up bar at its center (which also includes a dry seating area). The wide sundeck is lined with lots of rattan loungers and beach umbrellas, but it can be tough to find a spot during peak hours. There’s also a kidney-shaped kiddy pool found off to the side. The second pool is adult-only, set in a courtyard in the quiet section of the resort. This rectangular pool certainly isn’t as dazzling as the main pool, but it includes a swim-up bar and a pretty pond with lily pads.
The resort offers direct access to a broad sweep of Playa Dorada's beach. Ample plastic loungers and palapas are provided for guests, although, like the pool, the beach can feel a bit congested at times. Still, its golden sands are quite clean, and the calm waters are ideal for snorkeling.
Gran Ventana’s fitness center is tiny but bright, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering nice views of the pool and grounds. It features a small selection of Cybex and Hoist equipment, along with free weights. Spa treatments are available at the resort’s sister hotel, Casa Colonial Beach Resort & Spa. Guests also have access to a clay tennis court found next to the front parking lot.
The resort's all-inclusive package covers use of non-motorized water sports equipment, such as kayaks, windsurfing boards, and snorkeling gear. Guests can also receive a one-hour scuba lesson in the main pool, and free bikes are available for hour-long sessions to cycle around the resort. The resort’s busy daily activities lineup includes aqua aerobics, Merengue lessons, beach volleyball, and a range of other entertainment. Live shows and musical performances are hosted nightly, with most taking place in a slightly dated, open-air theater found adjacent to the main pool.
The kids’ club is a modest space, but features a colorful array of toys and plastic tables. Geared toward kids aged 4 to 12, the club has activities such as dance parties, Spanish lessons, and volleyball. The resort’s meeting room can accommodate up to 250 guests. There’s a small cluster of shops just off the lobby, including a convenience store, a souvenir shop, and a hair salon. Free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby, but the connection tends to be slow. Free parking is offered on-site as well.
Quality buffet along with three a la carte venues that require reservations
La Almejas, the resort’s main buffet restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It has a huge, modern, open-air dining area with wood paneled flooring, white pillars, and eye-catching red chandeliers. Its top-notch buffet spread offers excellent variety and a couple of live cooking stations.
Guests will need to make advanced reservations to dine at the resort’s three a la carte restaurants. Ocean Grill serves up grilled meats and fish under a casual, canvas shelter at lunch, as well as dinner in an adjacent thatched-roof dining area -- both have partial views of the ocean beyond a band of greenery. Other dinner options include Caribbean cuisine at Octopus, or Italian fare at Sapore Di Mare. Most guests report the food quality at all three a la cartes is pretty average.
Both of the resort’s two pools have swim-up bars that include small dry seating areas. There’s also a long, open-air lobby bar overlooking the pool, which offers a mix of high-top chairs, banquettes, and loungers -- guests also spill into the neighboring theater for additional seating.
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